Looking for a seasonal job opportunity in Canada in 2023? If so, you’ll be pleased to know that the Canadian government offers temporary foreign worker programs that make it possible to legally work in the country on a temporary basis.
We will cover in this article:
- Details on Canada’s Temporary Foreign Worker Program
- Eligible agriculture occupations you can get a visa for
- Finding a job offer with LMIA approval
- Step-by-step instructions for applying
- Costs and processing times
- Renewal and pathways to permanent residence
Plus, we’ll share pro tips and resources to help maximize your chances of success.
So if you want to spend a season picking fruit, working on a farm, or landing another temporary agricultural job in Canada, read on!
Overview of Canada’s Temporary Foreign Agricultural Worker Program
Canada’s Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) allows employers to hire foreign nationals to fill temporary labor and skill shortages when qualified Canadian citizens or permanent residents are not available.
The Temporary Foreign Agricultural Worker Program is one stream of the TFWP that enables Canadian agricultural businesses to hire seasonal foreign workers when Canadians are not available.
Each year, over 60,000 seasonal agriculture workers come to Canada through this program to plant and harvest crops, tend to livestock, operate machinery, and more.
The TFWP helps meet employer needs while also providing opportunities for foreign nationals to live and work in Canada temporarily.
Editor’s note: The TFWP requires employers to demonstrate need and offer fair wages and reasonable working conditions. This protects the Canadian labor market and the rights of temporary foreign workers.
Key Benefits Provided to Seasonal Agriculture Workers
One great perk of the Temporary Foreign Agricultural Worker Program is that Canadian employers are required to provide certain benefits to the seasonal workers they hire.
Here are some of the key benefits you can expect as an agriculture worker in Canada:
- Round-trip airfare – Your employer covers the cost of flights to and from Canada.
- Housing – Suitable, affordable accommodations must be arranged and paid for by the employer. Often on-site housing is provided.
- Health insurance – You’ll receive health insurance coverage while working in Canada.
- Work gear/equipment – Needed tools, outerwear, footwear and other job-related equipment is typically provided.
- Fair wages – You’ll earn at least the same wage rate as Canadians performing the same work.
Knowing that your basic needs will be provided for makes participating in the program that much more appealing.
Eligible Occupations and NOC Codes for Seasonal Agriculture Work
Not all agricultural jobs qualify for the TFWP. To be eligible, your occupation must be on the approved list.
Here are some examples of occupations that are eligible, along with their National Occupational Classification (NOC) code:
- Farm workers and laborers (NOC 8431) – Plant, maintain and harvest crops, tend to livestock, operate farm machinery and equipment.
- Nursery and greenhouse workers (NOC 8432) – Plant, cultivate and harvest trees, shrubs, flowers and plants in nurseries and greenhouses. Prepare soil, pot plants, etc.
- Landscaping and grounds maintenance laborers (NOC 8612) – Perform groundskeeping and landscaping tasks such as mowing, aerating, fertilizing, etc.
- Harvesting laborers (NOC 8611) – Perform manual tasks related to harvesting vegetables, fruits, mushrooms, etc.
- Managers in horticulture (NOC 0822) – Manage operations related to the cultivation and production of trees, shrubs, flowers, plants, and turf.
Be sure the job offer you secure is in one of the approved NOC codes for the agriculture stream of the TFWP.
Duration of Stay on a Seasonal Agriculture Work Permit
One question many people have is how long they can stay in Canada on a seasonal agriculture work permit.
The good news is work permits under the Temporary Foreign Agricultural Worker Program are typically issued for up to three years initially.
Some workers return to Canada year after year for seasonal agriculture work under the same employer for many years. Your work permit can be extended as long as your employer continues to demonstrate a need for your services.
The maximum cumulative duration is four years, after which you’d need to leave Canada for at least four years before being able to obtain a new work permit under the program.
Costs for a Canada Seasonal Agriculture Work Visa
Wondering how much it will cost to obtain a seasonal agriculture worker visa and work permit for Canada?
Here are the normal fees that apply:
- Work permit application fee: CAD $155
- Biometrics fee (if applicable): CAD $85
- Visa application fee (if needed): CAD $100
So the total cost is generally around CAD $340, depending on whether you need to provide biometrics and apply for an entry visa.
These fees are quite reasonable, especially considering the benefits and opportunity to live and work in Canada that you’ll gain.
Your employer may also cover some or all of these costs for you as well. Be sure to discuss this with them.
Finding an LMIA-Approved Seasonal Agriculture Job Offer
The most critical step for the Canada seasonal agriculture work visa process is securing a valid job offer from an eligible Canadian employer.
The employer must get a positive Labor Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) to hire you as a temporary foreign worker.
Here are some tips for finding an LMIA-approved seasonal agriculture job:
- Search the Government of Canada’s Job Bank website. Filter by agriculture occupations and “LMIA required.”
- Check directly with Canadian farms, orchards, nurseries, landscaping companies, etc. Many posts jobs on their websites or local job sites.
- Network with contacts in Canada who may have insights into seasonal openings.
- Consider using a reputable overseas job agency that works with Canadian employers.
- Avoid any employers or consultants asking you to pay fees for a job offer or work permit. This is prohibited.
- Vet employers thoroughly and confirm LMIA approval before accepting a job offer.
Taking the time to find a legitimate LMIA-approved job opportunity with a good employer will make your temporary work experience in Canada more positive.
Pro Tip: Many employers prefer to hire return workers each season rather than sponsor new ones. If you perform well, there’s a good chance they’ll request to bring you back the following year!
Step-by-Step Guide to Getting a Seasonal Work Visa for Canada
Once you secure an LMIA-approved seasonal agriculture job offer from a Canadian employer, here is the basic process to obtain your work permit and visa (if needed):
Step 1: Review the full program requirements and make sure you have all required documents prepared.
Step 2: Work with your employer to finalize logistics like flights, accommodations, contract details, etc.
Step 3: Submit your work permit application online or by mail to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).
Step 4: Undergo medical exam and submit biometrics if requested.
Step 5: Wait for IRCC to process your work permit application. Allow 2-3 months.
Step 6: Once approved, review next steps from IRCC and prepare for travel.
Step 7: If you are visa-exempt, you can travel to Canada directly to start working. If not, apply for an entry visa.
Step 8: Travel to Canada and begin your rewarding seasonal work experience!
The whole process takes some time and coordination with your employer, but following this checklist will help ensure your success.
Tips for Renewing Your Seasonal Agriculture Work Permit
Want to extend your stay in Canada? Seasonal agriculture workers can apply to renew their work permit provided their employer continues to demonstrate a need for their services.
Here are some tips for renewing your agriculture work permit:
- Maintain a positive record without any violations.
- Discuss renewal early – ideally 120 days before your work permit expires.
- Obtain a new LMIA from your employer.
- Submit another work permit application before expiry.
- Allow 2-3 months processing time for your renewal application.
Continuing with the same employer for multiple seasons is the easiest pathway. But switching employers is possible too if properly coordinated.
Potential Pathway to Permanent Residence
One exciting opportunity that the Temporary Foreign Worker Program provides is a pathway to permanent residence in Canada through the Canadian Experience Class (CEC) program.
To be eligible for CEC you must have at least 12 months of full-time (or equal part-time) skilled work experience in Canada.
While seasonal agriculture work is not considered skilled, you can leverage the experience and local knowledge gained through the TFWP to find a permanent skilled job and transition to residency.
Thousands of former agriculture workers have remained in Canada permanently by making this transition.
Next Steps to Apply for a Seasonal Work Visa in Canada
We hope this guide provided the information you need to navigate the Canada seasonal work visa process and understand the Temporary Foreign Agricultural Worker Program.
Here are some suggested next steps:
- Start exploring job opportunities that match your skills and interests.
- Thoroughly review the program requirements and document checklist.
- Discuss your plans with family and prepare for your time abroad.
- Connect with your chosen Canadian employer to initiate the LMIA and hiring process.
The application process takes time, so get started early! With the right preparation and perseverance, you can secure an amazing seasonal job in the beautiful Canadian countryside.
We wish you the best of luck! Please reach out if you have any other questions.