Agri-Food Pilot (AFP) Program: Assessing the application against the selection criteria

This section contains policy, procedures and guidance used by IRCC staff. It is posted on the department’s website as a courtesy to stakeholders.

Applicants should be assessed against the selection criteria below, based on the information and documents provided in the application. Applicants must meet all of the following criteria to be approved.

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Education

Applicants must demonstrate that they have at least 1 of the following:

The ECA must be less than 5 years old at the time of the application.

Note: ECAs include an assessment by the designated organization of the authenticity of the applicant’s completed foreign educational credentials. The assessment outcome stated in the ECA report is the evidence that IRCC uses to indicate that an applicant’s completed foreign educational credentials meet the education requirements of the Agri-Food Pilot (AFP).

If an officer has concerns about the authenticity of an applicant’s foreign educational credentials, they should notify the Immigration Program Guidance Branch (IPG) (available internally only), which will consult with the appropriate ECA designated organization for further instructions. Should the authenticity of an applicant’s foreign educational credentials still be a concern after consultation, the officer will write to the applicant, explaining the concerns, and allow the applicant to respond to those concerns through correspondence, documentation and/or an interview.

The procedures for determining misrepresentation, including procedural fairness, remain the same under the AFP.

Note: An officer may refer to the Canadian Information Centre for International Credentials (CICIC) website to verify whether a school located in Canada is an educational or training institution that is recognized by the provincial authorities responsible for registering, accrediting, supervising and regulating such institutions.

Official language proficiency

The applicant must provide a language test approved by IRCC that

See the language requirements section for information on evidence of language proficiency.

The North American Industry Classification System (NAICS)

The North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) was designed to classify the economic activities of businesses engaged in the production of goods and services. Establishments are grouped into industries in NAICS based on similarity of input structures, labour skills and production processes. This means that producing units, such as establishments, using similar production processes would be classified under the same NAICS code.

For the purposes of the AFP Program, the applicant must have accumulated work experience and be provided a job offer in an eligible industry group. These industry groups are represented by 4-digit NAICS codes. The following is a list of eligible 4-digit NAICS codes and industry groups.

Eligible industry groups (NAICS codes)

Employers must demonstrate that their businesses are primarily engaged in activities represented in the eligible industry groups. This means that the largest portion of the business’s activities must align with the descriptions found in the NAICS list for the eligible industry groups above.

The NAICS list contains 5-digit and 6-digit industry codes as well, which provide more detailed descriptions of the activities that businesses are engaged in within the 4-digit industry groups. For example, the 4-digit industry group represented under NAICS 1129 (Other animal production) can be further expanded into several 5-digit industry codes, such as NAICS 11292 (Horse and other equine production). Officers may review these descriptions to determine whether the employer is primarily engaged in activities described in the eligible industry groups.

Note: For NAICS 1129 (Other animal production), the officer should ensure that the animal production activities described by the employer are not classified under another NAICS code. For example, an employer declares that his establishment falls under NAICS 1129 (Other animal production), and indicates that his business is primarily engaged in farm-raising aquatic plants and animals such as seaweed and shellfish. These activities align with descriptions under NAICS 1125 (Aquaculture), which is excluded from the AFP program.

For more information on NAICS codes and their descriptions, visit Statistics Canada.

Qualifying work experience

Applicants must demonstrate that they have obtained work experience

Any periods of self-employment or unauthorized work will not be included when calculating the period of qualifying work experience.

For example, agricultural service contractors (NOC 8252) cannot claim any period of self-employed work experience to qualify for the AFP Program. Generally speaking, consultants and contractors are considered to be self-employed individuals in a “contract for services” business relationship. Similarly, individuals who hold substantial ownership and/or exercise management control of a business for which they are also employed are generally considered to be self-employed.

An IRCC officer may review pay stubs and notices of assessment in order to determine if an applicant’s work experience was based on self-employed work. If a prospective applicant is not sure of their employment status, they may choose to request a ruling from the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) to have that status determined. Such a ruling will state whether, in the view of the CRA, a worker is an employee or self-employed, and whether or not that worker’s employment is pensionable or insurable. This ruling may then be submitted to IRCC to supplement an AFP application.

Each application under the AFP Program is to be considered on its own merits, with a final decision based on a review of all the information available to the IRCC officer at the time of decision. While a CRA ruling on an applicant’s employment status will be given due consideration by an IRCC officer, it will not constitute conclusive evidence. The final decision as to the employment status of the applicant for the purposes of meeting AFP requirements rests with the officer.

Note: Canadian experience must have been obtained while the foreign national was authorized to work in Canada through the Temporary Foreign Worker Program in one of the eligible NOC and NAICS combinations and had temporary resident status.

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Employment requirements

Applicants must demonstrate that they meet the relevant employment requirements of the job they are being offered. Relevant employment requirements may include education, training or other qualifications listed in the NOC description.

Job offer requirements

Applicants must demonstrate that they have obtained a job offer and submit an Offer of Employment to a Foreign National—Agri-Food Pilot [IMM 0115] form (PDF, 1.55 MB) that is

Applicants must meet all job offer requirements at the time the visa is to be issued.

Job offers based on self-employed work do not qualify under the AFP Program.

Note: Applicants must demonstrate that they are able to perform and are likely to accept and carry out the employment and that they meet the relevant employment requirements of the occupation as set out in the NOC. Failure to do so may result in a refusal.

Union wage rates

For wages determined by a collective agreement, the employer must provide a wage rate that is identified in the applicable section of the collective agreement for the occupation indicated in the job offer.

The applicant must meet the wage requirement, as determined by the applicable provisions of the collective agreement, at visa issuance. Officers must verify the job offer to confirm that the employer will adjust the wage (check box on the job offer form) in the event that the wage determined by the collective agreement increases from the time the application is submitted to the time the visa is issued.

Note: The employer will identify in section 8 of the job offer form (IMM 0115) whether or not the wage is determined by a collective agreement. In addition, the applicable sections of the collective agreement will be submitted with the application for permanent residence under the AFP Program .

Prevailing wage

If the wage is not determined by a collective agreement, then the employer must provide a wage (as indicated on the job offer) that is at or above the prevailing wage for the occupation in the province where the work will be performed, as identified on the Job Bank website. If a prevailing wage is not provided for that province, then the wage offered must be at or above the national prevailing wage.

The prevailing wage is defined as the median wage indicated on the Job Bank website. It is not the range between low and high wages as identified on Job Bank for a particular occupation.

To determine the median wage,

The applicant must be provided a wage that is at or above the prevailing wage at visa issuance. The prevailing wage is updated annually (in the fall) and may be adjusted periodically to reflect the minimum wage in a province or territory. As a result, the prevailing wage may be updated on the Job Bank website between the time the application is submitted and the time the visa is issued.

Officers should verify the job offer for employer confirmation that the wage will be adjusted (check box on the job offer form) and to ensure that it was at or above the prevailing wage at application submission.

In this or any other circumstance where the officer has concerns with respect to the wage requirement or job offer, a procedural fairness letter can be sent in order to provide the applicant with the opportunity to understand the basis of the concern(s) and respond accordingly.

Officers can contact employers to verify this or any other part of the job offer if there are concerns.

Qualifying NAICS and NOC combinations for work experience and job offer

Below is a list of the eligible industry (NAICS) and occupation (NOC) combinations under the AFP for both work experience and job offers. No other NAICS and NOC combinations qualify under the program.

Eligible NAICS and NOC combinations

NAICS 1114 Greenhouse, nursery and floriculture production

NAICS 1121 Cattle ranching and farming

NAICS 1122 Hog and pig farming

NAICS 1123 Poultry and egg production

NAICS 1124 Sheep and goat farming

NAICS 1129 Other animal production

NAICS 3116 Meat product manufacturing

Examples of occupation (NOC) and industry (NAICS) combinations

Scenario 1:

The applicant declares work experience in NOC 6331 (Butchers, meat cutters and fishmongers – retail and wholesale) with an employer principally engaged in business activities under NAICS 1129 (Other animal production).

This is an ineligible occupation (NOC) and industry (NAICS) combination.

Scenario 2:

The applicant has a job offer under NOC 8431 (General farm workers) with an employer principally engaged in business activities under NAICS 1114 (Greenhouse, nursery and floriculture production).

This is an eligible occupation (NOC) and industry (NAICS) combination.

Scenario 3:

The applicant has a job offer as a fishmonger under NOC 6331 (Butchers, meat cutters and fishmongers – retail and wholesale). The employer has declared that his establishment’s primary business activities align with NAICS 3116 (Meat product manufacturing). Upon a careful review of the employer’s business activities described in the job offer, the officer has determined that the establishment’s activities are actually aligned with NAICS 1125 (Aquaculture).

This is an ineligible occupation (NOC) and industry (NAICS) combination because NAICS 1125 (Aquaculture) does not qualify under the AFP.

Temporary resident status

Applicants in Canada must have temporary resident status during the processing of their permanent residence application.

Settlement funds

If an applicant has been living and working in Canada under a valid work permit, they are not required to provide evidence of funds.

If an applicant is not already working in Canada, they must demonstrate that they have sufficient funds available for settlement in Canada at the time of application and when the application is finalized. The funds must meet all of the following criteria:

Sufficient funds are determined according to the applicant’s family size (including both accompanying and non-accompanying dependants). The funds must be 50% of the current low income cut-offs for urban areas.

Officers may wish to request additional information and documentation from applicants to demonstrate and support their ability to become economically established. If an applicant is unable to demonstrate that they have sufficient funds to meet the requirements, officers are to send them a procedural fairness letter.

Intent to reside outside of Quebec

IRCC must be satisfied that the applicant intends to reside in a province outside the province of Quebec.

When seeking permanent resident status, whether at a local IRCC office in Canada or at a port of entry, applicants must establish that they still intend to reside outside the province of Quebec.

Processing offices must follow procedural fairness guidelines if they are not satisfied that an AFP applicant meets the criteria of the AFP Program. In such cases, the office must inform the applicant of their concerns, and the applicant must have the opportunity to respond and provide additional information in support of their application.

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