Agri-Food Pilot Program (AFIP) – Who can apply (Detailed Guide)

Agri-Food Pilot Program (AFIP) – Who can apply (Detailed Guide)

The Agri-Food Pilot has been implemented by the government of Canada to address the labor shortage within the Canadian agri-food sector. This initiative or you can say the AFIP program offers a route to permanent residency for skilled, non-seasonal workers employed in specific industries and occupations but is mainly related to all the agricultural activities. The three-year economic immigration pilot program is designed for temporary foreign workers (TFWs) already working in Canada, specifically in the meat processing, mushroom cultivation, greenhouse production, and livestock-raising sectors.

Its objective is to attract and retain workers by providing a pathway to permanent residence, allowing both workers and their families to live and work in Canada indefinitely.

Initially, the program accepted a maximum of 2,750 principal applicants and their families annually. However, in 2023, the cap was removed when the program’s extension until 2025 was announced. Agricultural employers participating in the pilot are eligible for a 2-year Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA).

Eligible Industries & Occupations Under the AFP Program

IndustryOccupation
Meat Product Manufacturing (NAICS 3116)6331 (Retail Butchers) NOC B
9462 (Industrial Butchers) NOC C
8252 (Farm Supervisors & Specialized Livestock Workers) NOC B
9617 (Food Processing Labourers) NOC D
Greenhouse, Nursery, and Floriculture Production, including mushroom production (NAICS 1114)8252 (Farm Supervisors & Specialized Livestock Workers) NOC B
8431 (General Farm Workers) NOC C
8611 (Harvesting Labourers) NOC D
Animal Production (excluding aquaculture) (NAICS 1121, 1122, 1123, 1124 and 1129)8252 (Farm Supervisors & Specialized Livestock Workers) NOC B
8431 (General Farm Workers) NOC C

Eligibility Criteria For the Agri-Food Pilot Program

  • Possess qualifying work experience for at least 12 months
  • Hold job offer for full-time, non-seasonal work in Canada
  • Meet minimum language proficiency criteria minimum CLB 4
  • Fulfill educational  requirements of Canadian high school or equal and
  • Demonstrate financial capacity for settlement in Canada (if applicable)
  • Sustain your temporary resident status (if currently in Canada)

1. Work Experience

  • Accumulate at least one year of non-seasonal, full-time work within the past three years (equivalent to a minimum of 1,560 hours).
  • Engage in one or more eligible occupations within a qualifying industry. When hiring you, your employer must have submitted a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) with a minimum duration of 12 months.
  • You are required to provide evidence of your work experience, such as:
    • An employer or union reference letter
    • A letter of employment.
    • T4 documents.
    • Paystubs.

Note: A union reference letter is applicable only for unionized positions

2. Job Offer

  • The position should fall within an eligible occupation listed under one of the qualified industries.
  • It must be a full-time role requiring a minimum of 30 paid hours per week.
  • Additionally, the job should be non-seasonal, indicating consistent and regularly scheduled employment throughout the year.
  • The employment is expected to be permanent with no specified end date.
  • For unionized roles, the wage must align with the relevant collective agreement.
  • In the case of non-unionized positions, the salary should either meet or exceed the Job Bank’s prevailing (median) wage for the specified occupation in your job offer’s province of employment. If there is no provincial rate available, the national level should be considered.
  • It’s essential to note that the job offer must pertain to a position in Canada, excluding Quebec.

3. Language requirements

The minimum language proficiency standards in either English or French are set at Canadian Language Benchmarks (CLB) or Niveaux de compétence linguistique canadiens (NCLC) Level 4 in the following areas:

  • Reading
  • Writing
  • Speaking
  • Listening

4. Educational requirements

  • Either a Canadian high school diploma or an Educational Credential Assessment (ECA) report from a recognized organization or professional body is acceptable, demonstrating the completion of a foreign credential at the secondary school level or higher.
  • The ECA report should be no more than 5 years old at the time of your application.
  • Additionally, the original ECA report must have been issued on or after the date the organization was designated.

5. Settlement funds

You are required to demonstrate sufficient funds to support any family members, regardless of whether they accompany you to Canada or not. However, if you are already legally employed in Canada at the time of application, you are exempt from the settlement funds requirement.

How To Apply For Agri-Food Pilot Program

  1. Check Eligibility: Ensure that you meet the eligibility criteria for the Agri-Food Pilot Program. Eligibility requirements typically include specific work experience in the Canadian agri-food sector, language proficiency, and a job offer from a Canadian employer designated by the program.
  2. Temporary Work Permit: In most cases, you will need to apply for a temporary work permit. Your employer may need to obtain a Labor Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) before you can apply for the work permit. The LMIA is a document that shows the employer has met certain requirements to hire a foreign worker.
  3. Apply for Permanent Residence: Once you’ve met the requirements and obtained your job offer and work permit, you can apply for permanent residence under the Agri-Food Pilot Program.
  4. Biometrics and Medical Exam: You may be required to provide biometrics and undergo a medical examination as part of the application process.
  5. Submission of Documents: Submit all required documents, forms, and fees as per the guidelines provided by Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).
  6. Wait for Processing: After submitting your application, you will need to wait for it to be processed. Processing times can vary.
  7. Receive Confirmation of Permanent Residence (COPR): If your application is approved, you will receive a Confirmation of Permanent Residence (COPR) and other important documents.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q1:  Who is eligible for the agri-food pilot program in Canada?

The Agri-Food Pilot is designed to address the labor needs of the Canadian agri-food sector. To be eligible, applicants generally need to have full-time, non-seasonal job offers from eligible Canadian employers. Other criteria may include work experience, language proficiency, and educational requirements. Check the official website for the most up-to-date information

Q2: How do you qualify for a farm worker visa in Canada?

If you’re interested in working on a farm in Canada, you may be eligible for the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) or the Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program (SAWP). Eligibility criteria may include a job offer from a Canadian employer, proof of necessary skills and experience, and compliance with other immigration requirements

Q3: Are farm workers in demand in Canada?

There is often a demand for farm workers in Canada, especially in seasonal agriculture. The demand may vary depending on the region, type of farming, and specific agricultural activities. Employers looking to hire foreign workers typically go through the Temporary Foreign Worker Program or other relevant programs

Q4: Can I move to Canada as a farmer?

If you want to move to Canada as a farmer and become a permanent resident, there are different immigration pathways. The Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) is one option, where provinces may have specific streams for those interested in farming. Additionally, the Express Entry system may be another route for skilled workers, depending on your qualifications and work experience

Q5: Can farmers get PR in Canada?

The possibility of obtaining permanent residency (PR) in Canada depends on various factors, including the immigration program you apply through and meeting the specific requirements. Some provinces may have immigration streams or pilot programs designed to attract and retain farmers. The Express Entry system also considers skilled workers, and farmers with the right qualifications may be eligible

Q6: What is the processing time for the Agri-Food Pilot Program?

The processing time for Agri-Food Pilot Program can vary depending on the file but in most cases average file get processed within 7-12 months of date of application.

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