Canada introduced the first Category-Based Selection Invitations for Newcomers with Agriculture and Agri-Food Work Experience

As you may remember, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) introduced a set of adjustments to the Express Entry system on May 31, 2023, characterized by a novel category-based selection approach. These strategic changes aim to counter labour shortages and align with economic objectives by extending invitations to candidates who have specific work expertise or proficiency in the French language, inviting them to reach the goal of permanent residence in Canada.

The past September 27th, The Honourable Marc Miller, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, and The Honourable Lawrence MacAulay, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, disclosed the initiation of the inaugural round of invitations tailored for roles within the agriculture and agri-food sector under the category-based selection framework within Express Entry. This group of candidates possesses experience in various positions vital to the sector, including agricultural service contractors, farm supervisors, and retail and wholesale butchers. The strategic focus of this initiative is to attract and retain the skilled talent necessary to bolster the industry’s operations in all of Canada.

Canada’s Express Entry system has undergone a strategic transformation to provide a more efficient pathway for individuals possessing expertise in pivotal fields. The focal point of this change is to extend invitations to highly skilled newcomers with work experience in agriculture and agri-food positions. This move is primarily driven by the mounting demand for talent in roles crucial to advancing the nation’s agricultural and food processing activities.

Category-based selection, in conjunction with the Agri-Food Pilot, reaffirms Canada’s dedication to enticing top-tier global talent and fulfilling the demand for agriculture and agri-food workers vital to the nation’s economic sustenance. These category-based selection rounds will persist throughout the year alongside the customary general and program-specific invitation rounds.

Highlight messages:

Food security stands as a paramount concern for all Canadians, and our nation proudly holds the distinction of being the fifth-largest exporter of agri-food and seafood across the globe. In light of this, addressing labour shortages is not just important; it’s a necessity to sustain the sector’s capacity to produce and process food at the scale required to meet the needs of Canadians and international markets. This milestone marks a promising stride toward welcoming more skilled farm and food workers to our country.
– Said The Honourable Marc Miller, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship

Canadian agricultural and agri-food sector is a great factor for economic expansion and needs skilled and dependable talent to continue feeding our population. Canada’s Express Entry system is a vital tool for attracting workers who possess the skill sets essential to our world-class agricultural industry.
– Express The Honourable Lawrence MacAulay, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

Some important facts to know about this sector:

The agriculture and agri-food sector contributes to Canada’s economic growth and vitality. In 2022, Canada exported approximately an amount of $92.8 billion worth of agricultural and food products, in which we could find raw agricultural materials, fish and seafood, and processed foods.

Express Entry is still Canada’s primary application management system for individuals seeking permanent immigration via programs such as the Federal Skilled Worker Program, the Canadian Experience Class, the Federal Skilled Trades Program, and some of the Provincial Nominee Program.

In June 2022, the Canadian government made significant changes to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, which enables the selection of immigrants based on crucial attributes that support economic priorities, such as specific work experience or fluency in the French language.

On May 31, 2023, Sean Fraser, former Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, officially launched category-based selection, a different mechanism designed to welcome skilled newcomers with work experience in priority roles as permanent residents.

The establishment of these categories is thanks to an extensive consultation process involving provincial and territorial partners, stakeholders, and the general public, reviewing the labour market requirements too. A list of eligible occupations for these new categories is on Canada’s official website.

The Agri-Food Pilot, initiated in 2020, offers a pathway to permanent residence for experienced, non-seasonal workers in specific industries and occupations. Recently, IRCC introduced several updates to the Agri-Food Pilot, extending it for an additional two years, now effective until May 2025.

Under the Canada–Québec Accord, Quebec has the authority to determine its immigration levels. From 2018 to 2022, admissions under federal high-skilled programs, encompassing the Federal Skilled Worker Program, the Canadian Experience Class, and the Federal Skilled Trades Program, constituted 34% to 40% of overall French-speaking admissions outside Quebec