Unskilled Permanent Residence Canada (Agricultural Worker)

Posted on 15/07/2019

Are you an agricultural worker on a temporary work permit in Canada?

When Canadians think of immigration and agricultural workers in Canada they tend to think of seasonal workers who tend to work at harvest time for a limited period of time and who travel back and forth on temporary work permits.

However, there is another type of non-seasonal agricultural worker who may work in areas like:

  • Meat processing workers
  • Greenhouse workers – specifically:
    • Harvesting labourers for greenhouse mushrooms
    • Harvesting labourers for other greenhouse crops
  • General farm workers for:
    • Year-round mushroom production
    • Year-round other greenhouse crop production
    • Livestock raising
  • Farm supervisors for:
    • Year-round mushroom production
    • Year-round greenhouse crop production
    • Livestock raising
  • Specialized livestock workers.

If you fit into one of the above-listed categories, then IRCC has just announced a new pilot program – the Agri-Food Immigration Pilot – that could help you to gain permanent residency in Canada. There is a need for experienced workers in these areas to help employers who are currently having trouble filling these jobs and this has provided the impetus for the new pilot program.

Agri-Food Immigration Pilot

This new pilot program will start in early 2020 and will provide a new pathway to permanent resident status for non-seasonal, experienced, agricultural workers in the above categories. To qualify you must:

  • Have a minimum of 12 months of non-seasonal Canadian work experience in the Temporary Foreign Workers Program, in an eligible occupation in:
    • Processing meat products
    • Raising livestock
    • Growing mushrooms or greenhouse crops;
  • Have a minimum Canadian Language Benchmark level 4 in English or French  – this is equivalent to IELTS 4 in Writing and Speaking; IELTS 4.5 in Listening; IELTS 3.5 in Reading;
  • Have a Canadian High School diploma (or foreign equivalent);
  • Have an indeterminate job offer for full-time, non-seasonal agricultural work in Canada – an indeterminate job is one with no end date.

Details on how to apply for this program will be available in early 2020.

Which Employers Will Qualify?

Employers in the above-listed industries who wish to use the pilot program to hire experienced foreign workers on a path to permanent residency will be given a 2-year Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA). If you use another existing program to achieve permanent resident status for your employees, you will also be given a 2-year LMIA.

Meat processors will need the following to be eligible for the Agri-Food Immigration Pilot:

  • An outline of your plans to support your temporary foreign workers in their path to achieving permanent resident status.
  • If you are a unionized meat processor, you will need a Letter of Support from you Union.
  • If you are a non-unionized meat processor, you will have to meet additional requirements to make sure both the labour market in Canada for your workers as well as immigrant workers will be protected. More details will follow in early 2020.

While 2,750 principal applicants per year (plus their family members) will be accepted, there may be adjustments to how these limits on the numbers of foreign workers brought in (or “caps”) will be calculated going forward.

  • The efforts that you make as an employer to help your workers achieve permanent resident status in Canada will be taken into account when setting caps (or limits) on the numbers.
  • This means that if you have a history of successfully helping your workers gain permanent residency, you as an employer may be excluded from the caps at an amount based on how many workers in the past you have helped gain permanent resident status.

The Agri-Food Immigration Pilot will last for 3 years and could result in around 5,500 new permanent residents per year (2,275 principal applicants per year with 1 partner/spouse/family member per year = 2,275 x 2 = 5,500) with a total of 16,500 new permanent residents in Canada by the end of the 3-year period.

And of course, it will help meet the labour needs of an important part of Canada’s agricultural sector. As Roger Cuzner – Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Employment, Workforce Development & Labour) states:

Today we are delivering on something that employers, unions, and migrant workers have been calling on government to do for over a decade – 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.

For workers with experience (both abroad and in Canada as well) in these industries this will provide a wonderful opportunity to gain permanent residence. Stay tuned for more details!

Posted in News Tips and tagged Permanent Residence, Work Permit

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