Move to Canada with the Agri-Food Pilot Program in 2021

The three-year agri-food pilot program aims is another interesting category introduced by the government to fill labour shortages in certain industries. These are particularly in the meat processing and mushroom production sectors within the agri-food. The agriculture and agri-food industry are an important contributor to Canada’s economic growth and balance that has been creating many critical jobs in Canada.

With this program the government is looking to help the agri-food sector bring in full-time, non-seasonal foreign workers needed to fill growing labour gaps. This new pilot aims to attract and retain workers by providing them with an opportunity to become permanent residents following an initial two-year stint on a temporary work permit, instead of having to renew their work permits repeatedly.

Every year a maximum of 2,750 principal applicants, excluding family members, will be accepted under this program. This represents a total of approximately 16,500 possible new permanent residents over the three-year duration of the pilot. There are specific occupations in the agriculture sector that qualify under this pilot. The occupations and industries eligible under the pilot include:

1.     Meat processing workers

·      retail butcher

·      industrial butcher

·      food processing labourer

2.     Harvesting labourer for year-round mushroom production and greenhouse crop production.

3.     General farm worker for year-round mushroom production, greenhouse crop production, or livestock raising.


4.     Farm supervisor and specialized livestock worker for meat processing, year-round mushroom production, greenhouse crop production or livestock raising.

The Agri-Food Immigration Pilot will test a new, industry-specific approach to help address the labour needs of the Canadian agri-food sector, particularly in meat processing and mushroom production. The sector has been experiencing skilled labour shortage for a long time. 

While immigration in the agricultural sector is largely based on seasonal workers, this pilot aims to enhance the benefits of economic immigration to the agri-food sector by testing a new pathway to permanent residence. This program is a completely different initiative from the seasonal worker program which is designed to run for less than a year for low-skilled candidates for varied roles. 

The pilot will seek to attract experienced, non-seasonal workers who can economically establish in Canada, and who support the ongoing labour needs of the agri-food sector.

Overall, the pilot will focus on attracting professionals like retail butchersindustrial butchers, food processing labourers, harvesting labourers, general farm workers, and farm supervisors and specialized livestock workers.

Settlement Funds – It is imperative to note that the program have enough money to support yourself and your family members upon settlement in Canada. Those already working in Canada with a valid work permit are not required to provide proof of funds.

The Agri-Food Pilot helps address the labour needs of the Canadian agri-food sector therefore a candidate with similar background related to the specific NOC code under which they qualify may apply for this program.

The Agri-food pilot provides a pathway to permanent residence for experienced, non-seasonal workers in specific industries and occupations. It will run until May 2023 until any changes apply.


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