IRCC has announced that it is extending the Agri-Food Immigration pilot and lifting annual occupational caps for program participants.
Discover if You Are Eligible for Canadian Immigration
Today Immigration Minister Sean Fraser said that the Agri-Food Pilot Program will now run until May 14, 2025. The pilot was established to help facilitate the transition of experienced workers in agricultural and food industries to permanent residence in Canada.
The Minister also announced the lifting of the annual occupational caps. Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) says removing these limits will provide an opportunity for more eligible candidates to apply. IRCC will also be making additional changes by the end of the year. The department will introduce new changes to the pilot in stages, such as:
Canada’s Agri-Food Immigration Pilot was launched in 2020 with the intention of helping to reduce labour shortages in meat processing, mushroom and greenhouse production, and livestock-raising industries.
When it was announced IRCC said it would admit up to 2,750 principal applicants plus their family members annually for the following three years.
The application deadline for the pilot was set to expire on May 14, 2023.
Recent job vacancy data from February 2023 shows there are more than 243,000 people in Canada employed in the Agriculture, Hunting, Fishing and Forestry sector and over 14,000 vacant jobs. The industry was hard-hit by the COVID-19 pandemic that caused plant closures, market fluctuations and supply chain delays.
Agri-Food Pilot Announcement – Une annonce concernant le Programme pilote sur l’agroalimentaire
The Honourable Sean Fraser, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, will make an announcement regarding the agrifood sector’s labour market needs and strengthening Canada’s food supply system. Minister Fraser will be joined by Parliamentary Secretary Francis Drouin, on behalf of the Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of Agriculture and AgriFood.
The occupations and industries eligible under the pilot include:
Meat product manufacturing;
Greenhouse, nursery and floriculture production, including mushroom production;
Animal production excluding aquaculture:
Candidates for the program must also meet additional eligibility requirements such as:
Employers in the meat processing sector who wish to use the pilot will be issued a two-year Labour Market Impact Assessment. The plan must outline the employer’s plan to support the temporary foreign worker in obtaining permanent residency.
IRCC says unionized meat processors require a letter of support from their union and non-unionized meat processors will have to meet additional requirements to ensure the labour market and migrant workers are protected.