Agri-Food Pilot (Overview + Application Process)

The Agri-food pilot is an industry-specific immigration program aimed at welcoming skilled, experienced and non-seasonal workers who want to achieve permanent residency in Canada,  into the agri-food sector, especially in the meat processing, animal husbandry, green housing, and mushroom production areas.

The pilot program will run till May 2023. In this article, we will guide you through the steps involved in the application process of the Agri-food Pilot Program.

Before You Apply

1. Determine the Industry of Your Employer

The industries are classified according to the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS). Each industry has a code attached to it. In your job offer, your employer needs to include the specific industry code for the category under which they fall. The eligible sectors include:

  • Meat product manufacturing sector (NAICS 3116)
  • Greenhouse, nursery, and floriculture production, including mushroom production (NAICS 1114)
  • Animal production, excluding aquaculture
  1. Cattle ranching and farming (NAICS 1121)
  2. Hog and pig farming (NAICS 1122)
  3. Poultry and egg production (NAICS 1123)
  4. Sheep and goat farming (NAICS 1124)
  5. Other animal production (NAICS 1129)

2. Determine If Your Job is Eligible

The occupations are classified by the National Occupational Classification (NOC) code. The eligible jobs include:

  • Meat product manufacturing (NAICS 3116)
  1. NOC B 6331 – Retail butchers
  2. NOC C 9462 – Industrial butchers
  3. NOC B 8252 – Farm supervisors and specialized livestock workers
  4. NOC D 9617 – Food processing labourers
  •     Greenhouse, nursery and floriculture production, including mushroom production (NAICS 1114)    
  1. NOC B 8252 – Farm supervisors and specialized livestock workers
  2. NOC C 8431 – General farm workers
  3. NOC D 8611 – Harvesting labourers
  •  Animal production, excluding aquaculture (NAICS 1121, 1122, 1123, 1124 and 1129)
  1. NOC B 8252 – Farm supervisors and specialized livestock workers
  2. NOC C 8431 – General farm workers 

3. Determine if you are eligible.

There are certain criteria that you would need to meet to be considered eligible to apply for the Agro-Food Immigration Pilot. They include the following:

Educational Requirements

  • You must have a Canadian high school diploma
  •  Or you must have an Educational Credential Assessment (ECA) from a recognized institution or professional body showing that your credential is a foreign equivalent at the secondary school level or higher. 

Language Requirements

  • You need to have a minimum CLB/NCLC score of 4 in either English or French in all language abilities(reading, writing, speaking and listening)
  • This test result must be less than two(2) years old at the time you are applying.

Work Requirements

  •  You need to have at least one(1)  year of non-seasonal work experience (at least 1,560 hours in the past 3 years) in the same eligible industry that you are applying for. 
  • You need to have a valid full-time and non-seasonal permanent job offer in Canada(outside of Quebec) in one of the eligible industries/occupations. Your salary must meet or surpass the prevailing wage. If you work part-time, you are not eligible.
  • Your Canadian work experience must be through the Temporary Foreign Worker Program. 
  • You must also maintain your temporary resident status(if already in Canada).

Please note that work experience obtained while holding an open work permit does not count, but if you used to have a work permit through the Temporary Foreign Worker Program before you started using an open work permit, then the experience you gained during the period you used the TFWP work permit is valid and eligible.

Eligible work hours are:

  • The total number of hours worked at full-time jobs.
  • A minimum total of 12 months

Ineligible work hours are:

  •  Unpaid hours(e.g hours spent during volunteering or internships when you were not paid)
  • Hours worked in part-time jobs
  • Hours worked in seasonal jobs
  • Hours worked when you were self-employed
  • Hours worked when your work was not authorized by the IRCC. 

Settlement Funds

  • You must have sufficient finances to fund your living as well as that of your family members, regardless of whether they will be accompanying you to Canada or not. You will need to show proof of this.
  •  If you are already employed in Canada with a valid work permit when you apply, then you will not need to prove that you have these funds.

How To Apply

1. Send a complete application.

  •    Obtain the instruction guide from the IRCC website, and carefully read it for information on eligibility, fees and the application process. 
  • Get your checklist and forms for both you as the principal applicant and your employer. Some of the forms you will have to fill include: 
  • Generic Application Form for Canada [IMM 0008] 
  • Schedule A – Background/Declaration [IMM 5669] 
  • Schedule 1 – Agri-Food Immigration Pilot [IMM 0114] 
  • Additional Family Information [IMM 5406] 
  • Supplementary Information – Your travels [IMM 5562] 

Where applicable, you may need to fill the following forms:

  • Additional Dependants/Declaration [IMM 0008 DEP] 
  • Separation Declaration for Minors Travelling to Canada [IMM 5604] 
  • Statutory Declaration of Common-law Union [IMM 5409] 
  • Use of a Representative [IMM 5476] 

Remember to validate your application by filling the IMM 0008(a barcode form).

2. Submit your biometrics.

Biometrics simple consists of your fingerprint and your passport photograph. As soon as you receive a letter from the IRCC asking you to submit your biometrics, you should proceed to pay your biometrics fees and submit your application. For individuals between 14 and 79 years old, you will need to submit your biometrics alongside every application for permanent residence you submit, regardless of if you have given your biometrics previously and they are stills valid.

3. Proceed to pay your fees online.

How much you are paying as fees will depend on where you are paying from and what exactly you are paying for.

4. Submit your application by mailing it to the address written in the instruction guide.

After You Apply

After you apply, the IRCC office will check to see that you have met all the eligibility requirements, including all the supporting documents for the application, filled your application properly and correctly, and paid your processing fee. The office also checks to see if you have submitted your application before the annual limit for application for your occupation was reached.

You will also be contacted to provide your biometrics, ask for more supporting documents (if necessary), and provide you with further instructions.

If you have changes in your application such as a change in marital status, birth or death of a dependant, and change in contact information, it is important to reflect the changes on your profile by updating your information. You should also ensure to provide correct information totally, in order not to avoid the risk of being barred from Canada for five(5) years no matter your reason for coming to Canada. Providing incorrect information may also cause your application you be rejected and make you be found inadmissible.

If the IRCC office decides in your favour, then you will be contacted and notified through your online account. However, if your application is rejected, you will be notified and also informed of the reason for the rejection. To be re-considered, you will need to re-apply and meet Biometricsall the requirements.

 If You Are Accepted

If your application has been approved by the IRCC office, you will be mailed a Confirmation of Permanent Residence (COPR) and a permanent resident visa (if applicable). If you are within Canada, you will be contacted and invited for a short interview, where the validity of your documents, whether you remain eligible, and your mailing address will be confirmed.

If you are outside of Canada, you are advised to prepare for your arrival in Canada. Not that upon arrival, you will be interviewed by an attending officer to confirm your details etc.

In conclusion, it is important that you adequately prepare yourself and ensure you are eligible before you proceed to apply. For more information about the Agri-food pilot, please visit the IRCC website. Best of luck.

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