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The Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has announced that the Agri-Food Immigration Pilot, which aims to assist experienced workers in the agricultural and food industries to become permanent residents in Canada, will be extended until May 14, 2025.

Additionally, the annual occupational caps will be removed, providing more opportunities for eligible candidates to apply. The department plans to introduce changes to the pilot program in stages, including:

  • Allowing family members of pilot program participants to access open work permits, regardless of their job skill level.
  • Giving unions the authority to vouch for a candidate’s work experience as an alternative to employment reference letters.
  • Allowing applicants residing in Canada to meet either the job offer requirement (including the median wage requirement) or the education requirement (including an educational credential assessment verification).
  • Accepting work experience obtained under an open work permit for vulnerable workers. IRCC hopes this will create more opportunities for workers to qualify for the program.

Moreover, the pilot will start accepting work experience obtained under an open work permit for vulnerable workers, giving more workers the chance to qualify.

What is Agri-food Pilot Program?

The Agri-Food Immigration Pilot was launched in 2020 to address labor shortages in meat processing, mushroom and greenhouse production, and livestock-raising industries. The eligible occupations and industries under the pilot include meat product manufacturing, retail and industrial butchers, farm supervisors and specialized livestock workers, food processing laborers, and more.

Eligibility Requirements

Candidates for the program must meet additional eligibility requirements, such as:

  • having 12 months of full-time, non-seasonal Canadian work experience in one of the eligible occupations
  • a Canadian Language Benchmark level 4 in English or French, foreign education equivalent to a high school level or greater
  • an indeterminate job offer for full-time, non-seasonal work in Canada, outside of Quebec, at or above the prevailing wage

Employers in the meat processing sector who want to use the pilot will be issued a two-year Labour Market Impact Assessment outlining their plan to support the temporary foreign worker in obtaining permanent residency. Unionized meat processors require a letter of support from their union, while non-unionized meat processors must meet additional requirements to ensure the labor market and migrant workers’ protection.

With over 14,000 vacant jobs in the Agriculture, Hunting, Fishing, and Forestry sectors, the Agri-Food Immigration Pilot aims to help reduce labor shortages caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, which impacted plant closures, market fluctuations, and supply chain delays.

Are You Eligible for Canadian Immigration?

If you have experience in one of the eligible occupations under the Agri-Food Immigration Pilot, meet the program’s additional eligibility requirements, and have an indeterminate job offer for full-time, non-seasonal work in Canada, outside of Quebec, at or above the prevailing wage, you may be eligible to apply for Canadian immigration.

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Need help?

Are you interested in immigrating to Canada through the Agri-Food Pilot Program or any other type of Canadian PR visa? It’s important to ensure that your application is optimized for success. Don’t miss any small but critical details that could affect the outcome of your application.

Let ELAAR Immigration’s experts assist you with their general and business immigration advice throughout the process. With their help, you can increase your chances of getting permanent residency in Canada. Contact us today to learn more about the business visa options that are most suitable for your profile.

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