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Newcomers with agriculture expertise sought for immigration program

Canada has opened its Express Entry path to permanent residency to ag industry workers

The federal government is now accepting applications for permanent residency through its Express Entry program from foreign-trained workers who have expertise in agriculture and agri-food.

Successful applicants could include agricultural service contractors, farm supervisors, or retail and wholesale butchers.

“Our agriculture and agri-food sector is an important engine of economic growth and requires a skilled and reliable workforce to continue to feed our growing population,” Lawrence MacAuley, Canada’s minister of agriculture and agri-food, said in a Sept. 29 news release.

“Canada’s Express Entry system is an important tool that attracts workers with the skills our world-class agricultural sector needs.”

The announcement is the latest step in the category-based selection process that the government launched in May.

It identifies categories of priority for skilled newcomers based on Canadian labour needs, including French speakers; health care; science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) professions; trades, such as carpenters, plumbers and contractors; transport; and agriculture and agri-food.

Under the system, top-ranking candidates that meet the criteria in each category will be invited to apply for immigration during that round.

In July, the government opened up the process to workers with expertise in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) careers, and just last week the process opened to those with transportation experience.

According to government statistics, Canada exported nearly $92.8 billion in agriculture and food products in 2022. That includes raw agricultural materials, fish and seafood, and processed foods.