Foreign workers who have gathered professional experience in Canada’s agri-food sector will now have an opportunity to bid farewell to their temporary status. A new pathway has just opened up for workers in the agri-food sector so they can secure Canadian permanent residence. The pilot will begin its operations from early 2020.
This three-year Agri-Food Immigration Pilot will focus on retaining experienced and skilled non-seasonal foreign workers in the country. As long as they have eligible job offers in the Canadian agricultural and agri-foods industry, they will be able to take advantage of the pilot.
According to the Government of Canada, the industry recorded $66.2 billion worth of exports in 2018. It is responsible for 1 in 8 jobs throughout the country. However, due to the labour shortage in Canada, industries like mushroom production and meat processing are finding it difficult to operate normally and hire new employees. At the moment, migrant farmworkers who arrive in Canada to work are classified under the Temporary Foreign Worker program. The seasonal agricultural workers are given limited-term work permits, and they cannot gain permanent residency. However, this pilot is set to change the scene.
The professions and industries to be included under this new Agri-Food Immigration Pilot are:
- Meat processing
- Industrial butcher
- Retail butcher
- Food processing labourer
- Harvesting labourer for mushroom production throughout the year harvesting labourers for
greenhouse crop production
- General farm worker for mushroom production, livestock raising and greenhouse crop
- Specialized livestock worker for year-round mushroom production, meat processing,
greenhouse crop production and/or livestock raising
The upper threshold for principal applicants who will be processed every year is 2,750. According to the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), the pilot will be responsible for giving permanent citizenship to about 16,500 candidates over the three years, including the families of the workers.