The agri-food pilot program is a special immigration program issued by the IRCC (Immigration, Refugee and Citizenship Canada), which aims to bring in more people skilled in work related to agriculture. Although Canada is a relatively cold country, with a short growing season and a relatively small percentage of arable land compared to some other countries, Canada still has a flourishing agriculture.

The high utilization rates of the land available, the implementation of modern growing techniques and methods, and the developed Canadian agri-food sector and processing industry all make Canada a good place for all who work in agriculture. Unfortunately, as the Canadian economy and production are growing at a pace that the domestic population cannot sustain, there are always a lot of job vacancies in all the industries Canada supports.

For this reason, the agri-food pilot program was designed. It is intended to provide an easy immigration pathway for all who live and work in Canada already, under temporary work permits. The program allows those employed in the industry to immigrate with their family members and get their PR – Permanent Residence application. In this article, we will more closely explain what the program is all about, who is eligible, and what the application procedure for the agri-food pilot program is.

What Is the Agri-Food Pilot Program in Canada?

The Agri-Food Pilot Program is an immigration pathway offered by the Canadian IRCC. The program is intended for all who have experience in agriculture and agri-food industries, food processing industries, or in the management of agricultural goods, land management, land tillage, and similar fields within the industry. The program offers Canadian PR to all who are eligible, for as long as they are admissible to Canada and fall into strict and set quotas.

When it comes to the labourers in the food industry themselves, there are a number of subfields and NOC-category workplaces that fall under the eligibility criteria of the program itself. As it is clear, there are some eligibility criteria for the program itself, and the requirements that have to be followed. With no further ado, let’s have a look at them.

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Requirements for Agri Food Pilot Program

The Agri-food Canada program sets definite and essential requirements for the program. As the interest in the program is high, and the number of candidates for the Canadian PR set, it is important to only apply if you satisfy the requirements. Candidates who apply but do not pass all of the prerequisites will be disqualified, and the Canadian authorities will not refund the agri-food application processing fee. With this in mind, to apply for the Canada agri-food pilot program, you will need:

  • Eligible work experience
  • Eligible job offer
  • Language skills of a certain level (the minimum requirements are lower than with other programs)
  • Eligible education in the field
  • proof of funds for settlement

The basic prerequisites are the same for almost every Canadian immigration stream. When it comes to the requirements, they are there to confirm that you can find a place in Canada and not depend on the Canadian government for sustenance. The language requirements and the education are there to make sure you can actually work in a position that Canada needs. On the other hand, the settlement funds are there to ensure that you can provide for yourself and have a decent life upon your arrival. As Canada can get really expensive, it is clear that the settlement funds are an essential requirement (you will be disqualified if you do not satisfy this prerequisite).

Work Experience

Not just any job experience will be accepted for the program. The work experience requirement has to be in an industry and a field that is closely related to the work you will be conducting in Canada. In fact, the work experience, the same as the job position that has been promised to you, has to be identifiable on the NOC list. You will also need:

  • To have worked in the field for at least 1 year within the three years preceding the application. The more work experience you have the better, but this may not always be the case. 1 year of work experience in Canada is 1,560 work hours, but getting the hours in a shorter time by working double shifts is not allowed under the program: only 30 hours a week will be counted, although you may have worked 40-60 hours in a week
  • The work experience has to be in a non-seasonal, full-time position. Although this may seem counterintuitive, to be asking for a non-seasonal work experience in a very seasonal industry, bear in mind that there are year-round jobs in the agriculture field and that food processing labourers work year-round
  • This will also need to have been permanent jobs or a permanent position. If you were employed temporarily, in a work position that demanded a certain project be completed or you filled in the role of a permanent employee who could not work anymore for whatever reason, your work experience will not be accepted. You will need to have a permanent work contract to present during the application process
  • The work experience will need to be one of the eligible occupations in the NOC list
  • The work experience has to be realized in Canada and has to be legal. This means that you will need to have been employed through the Temporary Foreign Worker Program to be eligible and you will need to still be admissible to Canada, as well as have a legal stay for the whole duration of the program

Job Offer

When applying for the program, it is important to bear in mind that the program is intended for those already residing in Canada and working there. Another of the program prerequisites is that you have an eligible job offer and that this job offer is coming from a Canadian employer. A valid job offer for the agri-food program will be:

  • Issued by a Canadian employer
  • Issued for a 30-hour work week, at least
  • Issued for a non-seasonal full-time work position, to ensure that you would have employment for the whole year
  • A permanent job offer, meaning that you will not be employed for a year or two, but will rather be employed permanently
  • The job offer has to be identifiable using the NOC list of occupations in Canada

Language Skills

Your language ability should be up to the task. The agri-food pilot has some of the lowest language skill requirements of all of the immigration streams to Canada. You will need to score at least CLB4 (higher is better) and will need to make sure that you score AT LEAST CLB4 score on EACH language skill: listening, speaking, reading, and writing. Getting an average grade of CLB4 is simply not enough, as your speaking skills may be at level 2, while your listening can be at level 6.

On top of this, you will need to meet the minimum language requirements result issued by a respectable institution. Not every language test is acceptable in this case, so you will need to ensure that the testing is conducted in a language center that is acceptable and accepted by the Canadian immigration authorities. These include:


When it comes to the educational requirements, you will need to have a Canadian high school diploma. Alternatively, if you got educated in another country, you can also have an equivalent of the Canadian secondary school level diploma, but no lower levels of education are accepted. If you have a higher diploma or a degree from a college or university, this could be a plus, especially in managerial and coordinating positions. If you get your education outside of Canada, you will need to take out an agri-food ECA report (Educational Credential Assessment).

Funds for Settlement

Besides the above prerequisites, you will also need to have sufficient settlement funds. If you already work in Canada, you do not need to have this money, although you may be asked to prove that you can support all additional family members that you would like to take to Canada with you. When it comes to the settlement funds for the Agri-Food Pilot Immigration Program, they are as follows:

Number of Family Members Immigrating to CanadaSettlement Funds in CAD
Principal Applicant12,970
Each Additional Family Member3,492

How to Apply for Agri-Food Pilot Program Canada

Even before making your application, we advise that you get the application package and start collecting all the documents. You will also need to consult the NOC list and make sure that the job you are applying for is on the list. When it comes to the NOC code, it is advisable to consider your existing temporary work permit or the Canadian work permit you used when you were in Canada beforehand. If you are still employed by the same Canadian business, you may want to use the same NOC code, especially if still working in the same position. Let’s consider the application process in more detail:

Determine the Sector of Your Employer

Once ready to make the application, you will need to establish the sector in which your Canadian employer can find a job for you. To do this, you will need to consider their NAICS (North American Industry System) code or number. These codes can be provided to you by your existing or prospective future employer. The sectors that are eligible for the Agri-Food Canada program are:

  • Meat product manufacturing sector (NAICS 3116)
  • Animal production, excluding aquaculture (NAICS 1121, 1122, 1123, 1124, and 1129)

Check to See if Your Job Qualifies

As we’ve mentioned before, to be considered eligible, your job will have to be on the NOC list. However, not all agri-food immigration pilot jobs within the agricultural sector are considered eligible. Here are those that are:

NOC CODEOccupation Description
Meat Product Manufacturing Industry
NOC 63201Retail butchers
NOC 94141Industrial butchers
NOC 82030Agricultural service contractors and farm supervisors
NOC 95106Labourers in food and beverage processing
NOC 65202Meat cutters and fish mongers
NOC 84120Specialized livestock workers and farm machinery operators
NOC 85100Livestock Labourers
Greenhouse, nursery, and floriculture production industries
NOC 82030Agricultural service contractors and farm supervisors
NOC 85101Harvesting labourers
NOC 85100Livestock Labourers
84120Specialized livestock workers and farm machinery operators
Animal Production Industry
NOC 82030Agricultural service contractors and farm supervisors
NOC 84120Specialized livestock agricultural workers and farm machinery operators
NOC 85100Livestock Labourers

See if You Meet the General Requirements

The requirements outlined above are all the agri-food pilot requirements that you need to satisfy to make sure that you are eligible for the program. You will also need to have a clear medical record and a police record. Things as simple as a DUI can deem you inadmissible to Canada and even if you already have a temporary work permit, its extension can be rejected if you have a police record. With this in mind, if you do get rejected, there are ways to increase the chances of getting accepted with the next application by simply hiring an immigration specialist or an immigration lawyer to go through additional requirements with them.

Once all of this is done, it is time to consider the actual application process:

  1. Complete the application package, and make sure to get all your documents sorted out – double-check these
  2. Get ready to apply
  3. Get your photos, they need to be passport-style and size, and make sure you get your fingerprints taken – the biometrics appointment can be made in the biometrics collection centre nearest to you and you do not need to travel back to your country of origin to take them. The biometrics fee (CAD85) needs to be paid
  4. Pay your application fee (aka processing fee) – this can be done online. Make sure to print out or save as PDF the payment confirmation page, as this is your proof of payment that you will be submitting with your application
  5. Submit the application – this is done on the IRCC website
  6. Wait until your application is processed – an actual immigration officer will be checking all your details. Remain truthful to the best of your knowledge
  7. You will need to submit your medical test results. You will need to do this especially if you have been visiting high-risk areas. Different medical exams can apply to applicants from different countries so make sure you check where your nearest domestic medical centre is. You can find the list of eligible medical centres on the IRCC website
  8. Wait for your information to be verified – it is for this reason that you will need to provide the information that is truthful to the best of your knowledge – this information will be checked and if proven false, your application will be rejected
  9. Receive the final decision. If the decision is positive and you are accepted for the PR under the program, you will receive your COPR – Confirmation of Permanent Residence and your permanent resident visa. The COPR is a temporary document, and when you receive it, you will need to make an application for the PR card – this will replace your COPR as an identity document. In case, you got declined for the PR status, you can submit a new application, meet the agri-food pilot eligibility requirements, work on admissibility to Canada, or simply reapply in hopes of meeting the caps.

Eligible Industries for Agri-Food Immigration Pilot

Three basic industries are supported under the program. These include:

  • Animal Production Industry, including cattle ranching and farming, hog and pig farming, poultry production, egg production, sheep and goat farming, and other animal production
  • Greenhouse, nursery, and floriculture production industries, including mushroom production
  • Meat Product Manufacturing Industry

Eligible Jobs for Agri-Food Immigration Pilot

For a job to be considered eligible under the Agri-Food Immigration Pilot program, it needs to be from a Canadian employer, permanent, and for a full work week. In Canada, unlike some other countries, a job is considered authorized, full-time work when you work a minimum of 30 hours a week for a single employer, even though you may have more duties. When it comes to the eligible jobs, they also need to be listed on the NOC list.

A job that is eligible under this program also has to be carried out outside of Quebec.

  • Industrial butchers – retail
  • Industrial butchers – wholesale
  • Meat cutters – retail and wholesale
  • Fishmongers – retail and wholesale
  • Industrial butchers and meat cutters
  • Poultry preppers and related experienced workers
  • Agricultural service contractors
  • Agricultural farm supervisors
  • Specialized livestock workers
  • Farm machinery operators

Processing Time for Agri-Food Pilot Program

The processing time for the Agri-Food Pilot Program is not definite. However, most of the applications for the program are processed in less than 12 months. When you are invited to submit your documents, you will have less than a month to do so, so it is advisable to prepare all the documents beforehand.

When it comes to the processing times, the backlog that still exists after the pandemic can be felt, but some efforts to increase the efficiency of the processing of Canadian immigration applications can be felt as well. For this reason, it is advisable to have the documents ready – and this includes your language test results and your medical reports or medical examination results.

As this long of a processing time can be a bit long for many, it is important to understand that there may be ways for you to extend your Temporary Foreign Worker (TFW) work permit. You can do this by the Bridging Work Permit. This document is often used to bridge (therefore the name) between two different types of valid work permits. Remaining in Canada with this document while waiting for your other documents to be processed is a good way to ensure that your stay in Canada is legal. Bear in mind that not having a legal status in Canada even for a single day can cost you dearly in your future visa applications being denied, so make sure you get this BWP when your temporary work permit is about to expire.


How Much Do Migrant Farm Workers Get Paid in Canada?

An average experienced, non-seasonal worker on a Canadian farm makes around CAD15.50 per hour. The programs that allow farm workers to immigrate to Canada guarantee good work conditions and fair play when it comes to wages. Although the program has been designed to address labour shortage in the eligible agri-food industry, those with Canadian work experience will be favoured.

Do Canadian Companies Hire Foreign Workers?

Yes, many Canadian companies hire foreign workers with foreign credentials in education. As Canada’s economy is ever-expanding, it is clear that domestic workers cannot fill all the work positions and vacancies there are. For this reason, Canada relies heavily on importing foreign workforce, to the point that there are, in total, over 100 immigration programs in Canada.

What Is the Most Profitable Farming in Canada?

There are many types of farms in Canada, but oilseed and grain farms are the largest and the most profitable farms. When it comes to farming, goat farming, pig farming, egg production (especially small-scale organic eggs), mushroom production, and many similar ventures are very profitable. Keep in mind that experienced, non-seasonal workers will be allowed in the program and seek job positions that suit this particular eligibility criteria.

Can a Farmer Get PR in Canada?

Yes, a farmer can get a PR in Canada. You do need to satisfy the basic eligibility criteria, such as having some education requirements met and being medically and criminally admissible to Canada, but you will also need to ensure that you have enough settlement funds and a valid job offer. Once you have a PR, you can purchase your own farm as well and start raising cattle or tilling the land as you please.

Final Thoughts

The agri-food pilot program in Canada has just been extended to 2025 since there has been a lot of interest in the program, and there is simply a lot of need for people specialized in livestock production and meat processing. The program itself had a cap, which has been lifted, so if you have wanted to move to Canada and have eligible work experience in some of the eligible industries, this may be your ticket to securing a better future for yourself and your family.