Canada flag in a farm

Canada Launched Agri-Food Pilot

On May 15, 2020, Canada launched its ambitious Agri-Food Pilot program to attract workers in the Agri-Food industry. It has been a long-awaited program that was initially announced on June 17, 2019. Canada’s Minister of Citizenship and Immigration Honourable Ahmed Hussen released details of the pilot through Ministerial Instructions (MI) 35 on August 31, 2019. The pilot was later delayed with MI 38 on March 29, 2020. This new pilot is categorized under Canada’s broader economic immigration classes under subsection 12(2) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.

This new announcement brings cheers to many families who have someone employed in the Agri-Food sector. This program is a 3-year pilot program and is expected to end in May 2023.

Why is this pilot program important?

For a long time, Canada’s federal economic immigration programs focused primarily on high skills immigration. Reviewing the details of Express Entry, you will notice you have a better score for working in NOC O, A or B, and trades. However, NOC C and D experience do not qualify you for Federal Skilled Immigration, Federal Skilled Trades, and Canadian Experience Class.

This new program allows applicants from NOC B, C, and D categories as approved under this pilot program. Previously, provincial nomination programs were the only options available under this category. The new program will allow greater inter-provincial mobility of agri-food workers in Canada.

What is the overall process?

The process is simple and consistent with the process of past and ongoing pilot programs. Applicants need to prove the following essential requirements:

  • eligible experience within the eligible industry and occupation and satisfy a genuine job offer requirement;
  • language requirements;
  • educational requirements;
  • settlement funds (if applicable); and
  • maintaining status in Canada (if applicable).

Please note that eligible work experience must be:

  • a minimum of 1 year of full-time, non-seasonal work in the past three years (at least 1,560 hours);
    1. only full-time work experience counts, you can not combine part-time or seasonal work experience
    2. it can be combined work experience from different eligible occupations
    3. a minimum of the 12-month duration of the experience
  • in 1 or more of the eligible occupations listed under 1 of the eligible industries;
  • through the Temporary Foreign Worker Program; and
    1. a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) with a minimum 12-month duration must have been submitted by your employer when hiring you
    2. the work experience gained through an open work permit such as spousal open work permit and postgraduate open work permit does not count
  • education Requirements;
    1. must have a Canadian high school diploma or Educational Credential Assessment (ECA) completed at a secondary school level or above if you have foreign education credentials

What are the eligible industries and occupations?

Eligible industries:

  • meat product manufacturing (NAICS 3116)
  • greenhouse, nursery and floriculture production, including mushroom production (NAICS 1114)
  • animal production, excluding aquaculture
    • cattle ranching and farming (NAICS 1121)
    • hog and pig farming (NAICS 1122)
    • poultry and egg production (NAICS 1123)
    • sheep and goat farming (NAICS 1124)
    • other animal production (NAICS 1129)

Eligible occupations:

For meat product manufacturing (NAICS 3116), eligible jobs are

  • NOC B 6331 – Retail butchers
  • NOC C 9462 – Industrial butchers
  • NOC B 8252 – Farm supervisors and specialized livestock workers
  • NOC D 9617 – Food processing labourers

For greenhouse, nursery and floriculture production, including mushroom production (NAICS 1114), eligible jobs are

  • NOC B 8252 – Farm supervisors and specialized livestock workers
  • NOC C 8431 – General farmworkers
  • NOC D 8611 – Harvesting labourers

For animal production, excluding aquaculture (NAICS 1121, 1122, 1123, 1124 and 1129), eligible jobs are

  • NOC B 8252 – Farm supervisors and specialized livestock workers
  • NOC C 8431 – General farmworkers

Application limits

There are limits on the number of applications that will be processed for each eligible occupation. The restrictions will reset on January 01 of each year.

NOC – Annual Limits

Farm supervisor or livestock worker (NOC B 8252) – 50

Butcher – Industrial (NOC C 9462), retail (NOC B 6331) – 1470

Food processing labourer (NOC D 9617) – 730

General farm worker (NOC C 8431) – 200

Harvesting laborer (NOC D 8611) – 300

Who can apply?

To be eligible, you must:

  • have eligible work experience
  • have an eligible job offer
  • meet or pass the language requirements
  • meet or surpass the educational requirements
  • prove you have the required funds to settle in Canada (if applicable)
  • have maintained your temporary resident status (if already in Canada)

What is the application fee?

Application fees as of launching of this pilot

  • Single Applicant – $1325
  • Applicant + Spouse/Partner – $2650
  • Applicant + Spouse/Partner + Children – $2650 + $225 per child

If you or your family need to give biometrics, pay need to your biometrics fees while you pay your other fees ensuring you pay with the same payment method.

Biometrics – per person – $85

Biometrics – per family – $170

The $170 is the maximum fee for a family of 2 or more people applying at the same time and place.

If your application is rejected due to the annual limit for your occupation category has been reached, we’ll refund your application fees.

Steps after your application is approved

After your application is approved, you should receive the following documents:

  • confirmation of Permanent Residence (COPR); and
  • permanent resident visa (if you’re from a country that requires a visa).

Please note that IRCC will not extend your COPR; therefore, make sure you use it before it expires.

If you’re already in Canada

You need to attend a short interview with an officer. You have two options for your interview:

  • you may make an appointment at one of IRCC offices in Canada (best option); or
  • go to a Canadian POE (border crossing) and present:
    1. proof that you have the funds to support yourself and your family unless you’re already working in Canada; and
    2. your COPR and your permanent resident visa (if IRCC you one).

During the interview, the officer will make sure all your documents are valid and ask you a few questions to make sure you still meet the terms to immigrate to Canada. Further, they will confirm your Canadian mailing address, so IRCC can mail your permanent resident card (PR card) If you change your address within 180 days of getting your status, you must notify IRCC.

If you’re outside Canada

When you arrive in Canada, you must have:

  • valid passport and/or travel documents;
  • your Confirmation of Permanent Residence (COPR);
  • permanent resident visa (if IRCC gave you one) or electronic travel authorization (eTA) (electronically linked to your passport) required if you’re from a visa-exempt country; and
  • proof that you have the funds to support yourself and your family after you arrive in Canada.

Your passport must be a regular, private citizen passport. You can’t immigrate to Canada with a diplomatic, government service or public affairs passport.

Steps after your application is rejected

Unfortunately, if your application is rejected, you can re-submit the application if you believe you are eligible and have addressed the immigration officer’s concerns. If you are not sure why your application is rejected, you can request the officer’s GCMS case notes.

How can I strengthen my application and minimize the chances of refusal?

There are a few key steps you could take to make sure your application has the highest chances of success:

  • ensure you meet the required eligibility criteria;
  • submit all supporting documents;
  • provide certified English or French translations if any of the document is not in English or French; and
  • if you need professional help with your application, ensure you hire an authorized representative.

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