On May 31, 2023, Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada unveiled modifications to the Express Entry system, implementing category-based selection. These alterations are aimed at alleviating labor shortages and promoting economic objectives by inviting individuals with specific work experience or proficiency in the French language to apply for permanent residency.

Today, The Honourable Marc Miller, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, and The Honourable Lawrence MacAulay, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, announced the imminent commencement of the inaugural round of invitations for agriculture and agri-food occupations through category-based selection in the Express Entry system. This focused approach targets candidates with expertise in the agriculture and agri-food sector, including agricultural service contractors, farm supervisors, and retail and wholesale butchers. The objective is to attract the skilled talent necessary to fulfill industry demands across the nation.

Canada has tailored its Express Entry system to create an efficient pathway for individuals with critical expertise. By prioritizing the invitation of skilled newcomers with work experience in agriculture and agri-food roles, Canada aims to meet the growing demand for talent and fill essential positions that contribute to the advancement of the nation’s farming and food processing operations.

Through category-based selection and the Agri-Food Pilot, Canada reaffirms its dedication to attracting top-tier global talent and addressing the demand for agriculture and agri-food workers to support the economy. These category-based selection rounds will continue throughout the year, in addition to general and program-specific invitation rounds.


“Ensuring food security is a top priority for all Canadians, and Canada is the fifth-largest global exporter of agri-food and seafood. This underscores the importance of addressing labor shortages to sustain the sector’s ability to produce and process food on a large scale for Canadians and international markets. Welcoming more skilled farm and food workers to our country is an exciting step forward.” – The Honourable Marc Miller, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship

“Our agriculture and agri-food sector is a crucial driver of economic growth, necessitating a skilled and dependable workforce to continue feeding our expanding population. Canada’s Express Entry system serves as a vital tool to attract workers possessing the skills our world-class agricultural sector demands.” – The Honourable Lawrence MacAulay, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

Quick Facts:

Canada’s agriculture and agri-food industry significantly contributes to the country’s economic growth and vitality. In 2022, Canada exported nearly $92.8 billion worth of agriculture and food products, encompassing raw agricultural materials, fish and seafood, and processed foods.

Express Entry serves as Canada’s primary application management system for individuals seeking permanent immigration through various programs, including the Federal Skilled Worker Program, the Canadian Experience Class, the Federal Skilled Trades Program, and a segment of the Provincial Nominee Program.

In June 2022, the Government of Canada amended the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act to enable the selection of immigrants based on specific attributes that align with economic priorities, such as particular work experience or proficiency in French.

On May 31, 2023, the Honourable Sean Fraser, former Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, announced the introduction of category-based selection as a novel approach to welcoming skilled newcomers with work experience in priority occupations as permanent residents. These categories were established following extensive consultations with provincial and territorial partners, stakeholders, the public, and a thorough assessment of labor market requirements. A comprehensive list of eligible jobs for these new categories is accessible on the official website.

The Agri-Food Pilot, initiated in 2020, provides a pathway to permanent residency for experienced, non-seasonal workers in specific industries and occupations. Recently, IRCC (Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada) announced several changes to the Agri-Food Pilot, including a two-year extension until May 2025.

Under the Canada–Québec Accord, Quebec independently sets its immigration levels. From 2018 to 2022, admissions through federal high-skilled programs—comprising the Federal Skilled Worker Program, the Canadian Experience Class, and the Federal Skilled Trades Program—accounted for 34% to 40% of overall French-speaking admissions outside Quebec.

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