If you are an employer in the agricultural or food business in Canada, the latest changes in LMIA and work permit field are great for you! If you are an international worker looking to work in Canada on a work permit with opportunities to apply for permanent residence later, you are in luck!
Due to COVID-19 a number of shifts in immigration policy have been announced in order to deal with certain economic challenges in Canada and namely those that concern unemployment and job-loss. On the positive side, recruitment requirements (minimum of 3 months) for certain occupations have been dropped and employers benefit from a faster speed of processing on their Labour Market Impact Assessments or LMIAs. The following warning is displayed on the Service Canada website for employers' recruitment program requirements:
What does that mean? That there is a process in place for employers seeking foreign workers in the above-mentioned occupations and this is the prevailing list of jobs that we would advise job seekers to focus their efforts in applying for in the coming months as the Canadian economy recovers from the pandemic.
For temporary foreign workers who are already inside Canada and who have applied for a new work permit online, you now have an express process to start working in as little as 10 days, before your new work permit is processed. This change is due to a new IRCC public policy announced on May 12, 2020 in order to help workers cope with the financial burden brought on due to COVID-19 and to help employers be more responsive to labour market needs. Ask us how if this applies to your situation.
Furthermore, for employers with approved LMIAs in essential services such as those listed above, there is an employee opportunity in order to request priority work permit processing which, for some people, has already resulted in approved work permits in only a few days. These and other policies have been announced in order to provide exemptions for certain foreign workers from the current travel ban and from delays experienced both on the employer side due to slow LMIA processing and lengthy recruitment process, as well as on the foreign worker side due to work permit or work visa processing delays.
The aforementioned employer and employee opportunities can ultimately lead to settlement on a permanent basis under the new Agri-Food Immigration Pilot program currently accepting applications for permanent residence or PR until May 2023. A principal applicant must meet the following eligibility criteria in order to be successful on their PR application:
- all jobs listed in the above LMIA processing instruction are eligible for the Agri-Food Immigration Pilot
- complete a minimum of 12 months Canadian experience in one of the above jobs on an LMIA work permit. The job must be full time and non-seasonal
- have a written job offer from a Canadian employer for future employment on a permanent basis
- provide proof of meeting the English or French language requirement of CLB 4 (IELTS)
- educational credential evaluation report (ECA) showing that you completed a foreign credential equivalent to high school level or higher
- settlement funds. If applicable, you will have to prove that you have enough money to settle in Canada
As such, somebody who completes 12 months on an LMIA work permit in Canada could be well on their way to qualifying for permanent residence along with their dependent family members under the Agri-Food Immigration Pilot.