Agriculture and agri-food occupations for category-based Express Entry draws

Julia Hornstein
Published: July 11, 2023

On May 31st, Immigration Minister Sean Fraser announced that Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) was launching category-based selection draws for Express Entry candidates.

IRCC will give preference to Express Entry candidates who have a strong French language proficiency or work experience in the following fields:

  • Healthcare
  • Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) professions
  • Trades, such as carpenters, plumbers, and contractors
  • Transport
  • Agriculture and agri-food

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The occupations were chosen after IRCC received information about the shortages in the Canadian labour market. IRCC also consulted with their partners, the provinces and territories and stakeholders across the country.

On June 28th, IRCC held its first ever category based Express Entry draw, inviting 500 healthcare workers to apply for permanent residency. On July 5th, IRCC held a category based draw inviting 500 candidates in STEM professions.

On July 6th, a third round of category based draws inviting another 1,500 healthcare workers to apply for permanent residency.

Why was agriculture and agri-food occupations chosen as a category?

IRCC conducted consultations to inform immigration selection priorities and categories, which involved gathering feedback and suggestions from a broad range of stakeholders and the public. IRCC also engaged with provincial and territorial representatives to learn about their potential priorities and needs.

The respondents stated that agriculture occupations were one of the four areas that were experiencing the greatest needs.

At the end of 2022, the Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing and Hunting category had a job vacancy rate of 10,535 or 3.9%%. The job vacancies per province were:

  • Ontario: 3,070
  • Quebec: 1,950
  • British Columbia: 2,475
  • Alberta: 940
  • Saskatchewan: 540
  • Manitoba: 550
  • New Brunswick: 720
  • Nova Scotia: 425
  • PEI: 130

What are the agriculture occupations?

There are 3 occupations in the agriculture and agri-food occupation category. These include:

  • Contractors and supervisors, landscaping, grounds maintenance and horticulture services
  • Agriculture service contractors and farm supervisors
  • Butchers – retail and wholesale

What are the eligibility requirements for the agriculture occupations category?

In order to be eligible, you must

How will Express Entry category-based rounds of invitation be chosen?

IRCC will send invitations to candidates in category-based draws to apply for permanent residence if they are eligible in a specific category. This criterion includes:

How will Comprehensive Ranking System scores be considered?

Category based draws will occur in addition to the general and program-specific draws. Express Entry draws invite top ranking candidates who can help meet Canadian labour and job market vacancies and will further economic goals.

Candidates in the Express Entry pool are ranked using a points-based system called the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS). This system ranks candidates based on age, education, language skills, work experience and more.

A candidates CRS score will still be very central for category-based draws. IRCC will send invitations to apply (ITA) candidates with top ranking scores and who are also eligible for the category based draw.

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