New Permanent Residence Pilot for Eligible Agri-food Workers
The Canadian government has recently announced its three-year permanent residence pilot for eligible agri-food workers. It allows all temporary foreign workers in Canada having work experience in the agri-food sector to live there with PR status in early 2020.
Under the pilot, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) is planning to welcome a maximum of 2,750 primary applicants for Permanent residency. While, after including family members of primary applicants, the strength of new permanent residents under the pilot could reach approximately 16,500 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 government further added that Canada’s agri-food industry exported around $66.2 billion in products in 2018 and supported multiple jobs across the country. However, still, industries such as meat processing and mushroom production are experiencing the following problems:
- Shortage of new skilled employees
- The limited validity period of work permit for foreign farm workers who immigrate to Canada through its Temporary Foreign Worker program
- No pathway for Permanent residency
Eligibility requirements for applicants for the Agri-Food Immigration Pilot:
To become eligible for the three-year permanent residency pilot, all applicants need to qualify the following requirements:
- An applicant must have a minimum of 1-year of full-time, non-seasonal Canadian work experience in the Temporary Foreign Worker Program, in an eligible occupation
- He/she must score a Canadian Language Benchmark level 4 in English or French
- He/she must have completed a minimum of the foreign equivalent of a Canadian high school education
- He/she must have an indeterminate job offer for full-time, non-seasonal work in Canada, outside of Quebec, at or above the prevailing wage.
- Eligible employers in the meat processing sector need to issue a two-year Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) to use the pilot for hiring skilled foreign nationals.
- They need to outline their plans to support the temporary foreign workers for permanent residency under the pilot.
- To protect the rights of migrant workers under the pilot, unionized meat processors will require a letter of support from their union and non-unionized meat processors will need to meet additional requirements
Eligible occupation and industries 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.
Further information on the application process for the Agri-Food Immigration Pilot will be available in early 2020. Moreover, the pilot also follows the government’s other recent initiatives for permanent residency of temporary foreign workers including,
- New pathways for caregivers
- Additional 2,000 Provincial Nominee Program spaces to help eligible intermediate-skilled temporary foreign workers transition to permanent residence
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