Canada is launching a new 3-year economic immigration pilot that will fill labour shortages, particularly in meat processing and mushroom production, within the agri-food sector and help meet Canada’s ambitious export targets. Temporary foreign workers with Canadian experience in agri-food sector will have a new pathway to Canadian permanent residence starting in early 2020. This new pilot aims to attract and retain workers by providing them with an opportunity to become permanent residents. The Agri-Food Immigration Pilot complements Canada’s economic immigration strategy, which includes the Atlantic Immigration Pilot, the Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot, the Global Skills Strategy, a revitalized Express Entry and an expanded Provincial Nominee Program.
Employers in the agri-food sector who intend to be part of the pilot will be eligible for a 2-year Labour Market Impact Assessment.
- Temporary foreign workers will be able to apply under this pilot in early 2020.
- A maximum of 2,750 principal applicants, plus family members, will be accepted for processing in any given year. This represents a total of approximately 16,500 possible new permanent residents over the 3-year duration of the pilot.
- Addressing these labour market needs will help key industries in Canada’s specialized agri-food sector grow.
The Agri-Food Immigration Pilot will test a new, industry-specific approach to help address the labour needs of the Canadian agri-food sector, particularly in meat processing and mushroom production. While immigration in the agricultural sector is largely based on seasonal workers, this pilot aims to enhance the benefits of economic immigration to the agri-food sector by testing a new pathway to permanent residence. The pilot will seek to attract experienced, non-seasonal workers who can economically establish in Canada, and who support the ongoing labour needs of the agri-food sector.
In particular, the pilot will focus on attracting retail butchers, industrial butchers, food processing labourers, harvesting labourers, general farm workers, and farm supervisors and specialized livestock workers.
The occupations and industries eligible under the pilot include:
- meat processing
- retail butcher
- industrial butcher
- food processing labourer
- harvesting labourer for year-round mushroom production and greenhouse crop production
- general farm worker for year-round mushroom production, greenhouse crop production, or livestock raising
- farm supervisor and specialized livestock worker for meat processing, year-round mushroom production, greenhouse crop production or livestock raising.
To be eligible to participate in the pilot, candidates must have:
- 12 months of full-time, non-seasonal Canadian work experience in the Temporary Foreign Worker Program, in an eligible occupation in processing meat products, raising livestock, or growing mushrooms or greenhouse crops
- a Canadian Language Benchmark level 4 in English or French
- an education at high school level or greater (Canadian equivalency)
- an indeterminate job offer for full-time, non-seasonal work in Canada, outside of Quebec, at or above the prevailing wage
Details on how individuals may apply for permanent residence through this pilot will be available in early 2020.