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Canada announces new permanent residency pathway for temporary agri-food workers

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Temporary foreign workers who have experience in Canada’s agri-food sector will have the opportunity to obtain permanent residence status, as of early 2020.

The Agri-Food Immigration Pilot is a three-year long program designed to keep experienced foreign workers with job offers in Canada, for the benefit of the agricultural and agri-food industry.

According to the Government of Canada, the industry exported $66.2 billion in products, and is responsible for 1 in 8 jobs in the country. Additionally, industries such as meat processing and mushroom products have experienced “ongoing difficulty in finding and keeping new employees.”

At the moment, migrant farm workers who come to Canada through the Temporary Foreign Worker program for season work only receive work permits that allow a limited stay in Canada, and do not have a pathway to permanent residence status.

The jobs and industries eligible under the new Agri-Food Immigration Pilot are:

  • Meat processing
    • Retail butcher
    • Industrial butcher
    • Food processing labourer
  • Mushroom production, greenhouse crop production, livestock raising
    • Harvesting labourer
    • General farm worker
    • Farm supervisor

Only 2,750 applicants will be process into the pilot each year. Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) estimates that the pilot could bring 16,500 new permanent residents (which includes family members) into Canada over the pilot’s three year duration.

Eligibility requirements

The eligibility requirements for the Agri-Food Immigration Pilot are:

  • 12 months of full-time, non-seasonal work experience in Canada, through the Temporary Foreign Worker Program. Must be in one of the eligible occupations.
  • Canadian Language Benchmark level 4 in English or French
  • Foreign equivalent of a Canadian high school education or greater
  • A job offer for full-time, non-seasonal work in Canada

Additional details on how to apply will be available in early 2020, according to the federal government.

For any questions about applying for a work permit, contact Green Light Canada.

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