Temporary foreign workers with experience in Canada’s agri-food sector will have a new pathway to Canadian permanent residence starting in early 2020.
The three-year Agri-Food Immigration Pilot will help retain experienced, non-seasonal foreign workers with eligible job offers in Canada’s agricultural and agri-foods industry.
The Government of Canada says the industry exported a record $66.2 billion in products in 2018 and supports 1 in 8 jobs across the country, but industries such as meat processing and mushroom production “have experienced ongoing difficulty in finding and keeping new employees.”
Currently, migrant farm workers who come to Canada through its Temporary Foreign Worker program for seasonal agricultural workers receive only limited-term work permits and have no pathway to permanent residency.
The occupations and industries eligible under the new Agri-Food Immigration Pilot include:
- meat processing
- retail butcher
- industrial butcher
- food processing labourer
- harvesting labourer for year-round mushroom production and greenhouse crop production
- general farm worker for year-round mushroom production, greenhouse crop production, or livestock raising
- farm supervisor and specialized livestock worker for meat processing, year-round mushroom production, greenhouse crop production or livestock raising.
A maximum of 2,750 principal applicants will be accepted for processing each year under the pilot. With family members, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) said the pilot could welcome approximately 16,500 new permanent residents to Canada over the course of the pilot’s three-year duration.
“Temporary foreign workers who come to this country and work hard filling permanent jobs should have a fair and reasonable chance to become a Canadian regardless of the job they are filling,” said Rodger Cuzner, Parliamentary Secretary to Canada’s Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour, said in the news release.
The Agri-Food Immigration Pilot follows other recent initiatives by the Government of Canada that aim to help temporary foreign workers transition to permanent residence.
These initiatives include new pathways for caregivers and the dedication of 2,000 additional Provincial Nominee Program spaces to eligible intermediate-skilled temporary foreign workers.