The Government of Canada is now accepting applications for the new Agri-Food Immigration Pilot, which will allow eligible Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) and their qualified dependents to apply for permanent residency, including those working as meat-packers and mushroom pickers.
WHAT IS THE NEW AGRI-FOOD IMMIGRATION PILOT?
The new pilot program will fill labour shortages in Canada’s meat processing and mushroom production industries.
Canada’s agriculture industry plays a very important role in Canada’s economy, supporting 1 in 8 jobs in Canada. Canadian agricultural exports reached CAD$66.2 billion (approximately PhP2,380,700,719,624.00).
The pilot program will help Canadian employers in the agri-food industry by bringing in full-time, non-seasonal OFWs to meet their labour requirements.
The pilot program will allow OFWs to apply for permanent residency after meeting the program’s minimum requirements, including completing two-years working for a Canadian employer on a temporary work permit.
The pilot program will accept a maximum of 2,750 principal applications.
Under the pilot program, OFWs’ qualified dependents will also be allowed to apply for permanent residency.
REQUIREMENTS FOR AGRI-FOOD IMMIGRATION PILOT PROGRAM
OFWs must bee able to meet the minimum requirements of the pilot program, including:
1. Qualifying work experience
OFWs must have at least a year of Canadian work experience (or an equivalent of 1,560 hours accumulated in the past three years).
Canadian work experience must be non-seasonal, in an eligible occupation within an eligible industry and must be supported by a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) under the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP).
2. Qualifying job offer from a Canadian employer
OFWs must have a genuine job offer from a Canadian employer.
The job offer must be in an eligible occupation in an eligible industry. The position must be full-time, non-seasonal and permanent.
Salaries offered must meet the prevailing provincial minimum wage rates indicated in the Government of Canada’s Job Bank for the position offered. If provincial minimum wage rates are not available, federal minimum wage rates will apply.
Job offers must be in Canada, but not in the province of Québec.
3. Meet minimum language requirements
OFWs must meet the minimum language requirements equivalent to at least a Canadian high school diploma.
4. Meet the minimum educational requirements
OFWs who completed their education outside Canada must provide a valid Educational Credentials Assessment (ECA).
5. Must provide Proof of Funds
OFWs applying under the pilot program must provide Proof of Funds to show that they have the financial capacity to support themselves when they arrive in Canada.
OFWs with valid work permits in Canada do not need to provide Proof of Funds.
Click here to see how much show money you will need: http://bit.ly/proofoffunds
HOW TO APPLY FOR AGRI-FOOD IMMIGRATION PILOT
OFWs can submit their applications for permanent residency directly to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).
OFWs must use the official application guide and forms from the official IRCC website here: https://www.canada.ca/en/immigration-refugees-citizenship/services/application/application-forms-guides/application-agri-food-immigration-pilot.html
WHAT CANADIAN EMPLOYERS SHOULD KNOW ABOUT THE PILOT PROGRAM
Eligible Canadian employers in the agri-food industry will receive LMIAs that will be valid for two years from Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC).
The change to LMIA validity will benefit Canadian employers in the meat processing industry to help OFWs who are applying for permanent residency.
Two year LMIAs will be issued to eligible Canadian employers participating in the pilot program.
Canadian employers in the meat processing industry will need to outline their plans to support OFWs as part of their permanent residency applications, while employers with unionized workers must secure letter’s of support from the union.
Additional requirements may be required from Canadian employers with non-unionized OFWs.
Depending on the steps already undertaken by Canadian employers to support their workers applying for permanent residency, adjustments will be made to determine limits on the number of OFWs they can hire.
Canadian employers who already have a history of recruiting OFWs who have become permanent residents may be excluded from the limitation.
BENEFITS OF PERMANENT RESIDENCY FOR OFWS
OFWs who transition to permanent residency will be able to access more programs and services that they were able to do so previously, including Employment Insurance and the Canada Pension Plan.
The pilot program will allow more OFWs to be able to make plans to settle in Canada with their families, instead of the uncertainty associated with most employment situations under the TFWP.
For more information about the pilot program, go to the official IRCC program page here: https://www.canada.ca/en/immigration-refugees-citizenship/services/immigrate-canada/agri-food-immigration-pilot/about.html
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