By Jean-Paul MacDonald
The Canadian government has recently implemented category-based selection draws in the Express Entry system on the path towards Canadian permanent residency. The category-based selection targets specific occupations with labor market shortages.
To address the growing demand for skilled workers, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has included agriculture and agri-food occupations as one of the priority categories.
The eligible agriculture occupations for the Express Entry draws include agriculture service contractors and farm supervisors, contractors and supervisors in landscaping, grounds maintenance, and horticulture services, , as well as butchers in retail and wholesale.
Candidates who meet the requirements of the Federal Skilled Worker Program, Canadian Experience Class, or Federal Skilled Trades Program, and have at least six months of recent work experience in one of these occupations, are eligible to apply.
The category-based draws will be conducted alongside the general and program-specific draws in the Express Entry system. Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) scores will continue to play a central role in determining the eligibility of candidates.
Top-ranking candidates, who meet the requirements of the specific category-based draw, will be invited to apply for permanent residency.
The decision to prioritize agriculture and agri-food occupations was made after careful consideration of labor market needs and extensive consultations with stakeholders and provincial representatives.
By identifying sectors with significant job vacancies, the government aims to attract skilled individuals who can contribute to the growth and development of the Canadian economy.
The inclusion of agriculture and agri-food occupations in the Express Entry draws is a direct response to the pressing labor market demands in this sector.
As of the end of 2022, there were over 10,000 job vacancies in the Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing, and Hunting category alone, spread across various provinces.
By introducing category-based draws, the Canadian government aims to streamline the immigration process, attract skilled individuals to fill labor market gaps, and contribute to the economic growth of the country.