immigration to agriculture

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The agricultural, livestock and fisheries food industry is the most important primary industry in any country. In Canada, it is an industry of greater importance, not only in terms of domestic demand, but also in terms of its share in total exports.

But in Canada, employers in this sector face a chronic and serious labor shortage. It is said that the demand for manpower has more than doubled over the past 10 years, intensifying the job search.

Canada's rural population is also declining. In addition, rural jobs are out of the interest of job seekers, especially young people, because they are far from the city, so it is not easy to commute, they involve hard physical labor, and there are many seasonal temporary jobs.

The Canadian government began implementing agricultural immigration programs, recognizing that the labor shortage in this sector could not be solved solely by relying on domestic labor supply.

The following two Canadian immigration programs deserve attention.
• Federal Agri-Food Immigration Pilot
• Ontario Employer Job Offer In-demand Skill Stream (OINP Employer Job Offer In-demand Skill Stream) – Unskilled Agricultural Skills

AFIP started last May, but I feel that it is not very noticeable compared to its importance, perhaps because some issues were buried in the corona crisis. It is operated directly by the federal government and is available in all provinces of Canada except Quebec.

OINP-related programs are currently open for four non-skilled agricultural and livestock jobs. Only 10 occupations are eligible for the OINP Employer Job Offer Program, which is extremely limited, and 4 of them are in the agricultural sector.

The biggest advantage of agricultural immigration programs is that they are open to unskilled workers, so it is easy to get a job, and the qualifications for permanent residency are relatively easy. In particular, Ontario's program is known to be unskilled in all four occupations and to seek full-time labor from large industrial farms. In addition, it is also an advantage that they require a not so high English score as CLB 4.

Practical Constraints - Precautions
For AFIP, it should be noted that the required 1 year of relevant experience must be the period of work on a work visa based on the LMIA.

It is also important to note that it must be non-seasonal full-time employment. In the case of lay-off after short-term employment during sowing or harvesting, you will not be qualified, so remember that you must work for a company that can provide stable and long-term employment, such as large-scale corporate farming or smart farms, taking into account the fact that LMIA support must be possible. There is a need.

In the case of meat processing technicians, who are assigned a quota of nearly 3,000 per year, it would be good if they could get a job at food wholesale and retail stores, meat processing factories, and food manufacturers that handle meat.

On the other hand, OINP non-skilled agricultural workers do not have the above-mentioned restrictions on the employment visa, so they can work with an open employment visa after graduation or an open spouse visa. Working holiday visas are also accepted.

Alternative – what-if scenario
In the case of Mr. A, he received Warhol approval before the corona period. As a result of an active job search until recently, I was able to get a job offer from a southern Ontario business farm looking for a full-time General Farm Worker. Immigration restrictions are still in effect, but based on the employer's job offer, I was allowed to enter the country as an exception and got a job.

In the case of Mr. B, he received a spouse open employment visa based on his spouse's study visa. As a result of my job search, I received a job offer as a Greenhouse worker at a smart farm in Southern Alberta. After getting a job, I worked hard, and after about 6 months, I was promised skilled LMIA support by my employer. In the future, I plan to change to a 2-year work visa based on LMIA, and plan to apply for permanent residence through AFIP at the point of one year while continuing to work with this visa.

As the corona situation continues, it seems inevitable that the opportunity to apply for visas and permanent residency as well as entry into Canada will be reduced. However, agriculture is an essential industry and is directly related to the lives and safety of Canadians, and solutions are provided through foreign employment and immigration. If you are interested in this field and continue to make the necessary preparations, I am sure that you will be able to find an opportunity in a crisis. (2020.9.8)

[This column is not legal advice. We hope that readers will understand this, and if you need more detailed information and advice, we recommend that you seek professional help.]

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