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Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program (SAWP)-All You Need To Know

Canada Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program – Know How It Works

Last Updated On 9 January 2023, 9:11 AM EST (Toronto Time)

The Canada Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program (SAWP) permits employers to employ temporary foreign workers (TFW) when locals such as Canadians and permanent residents are unavailable.

These employers may hire TFWs from participating countries between January 1 and December 15 for a maximum of 8 months, provided they can offer the workers 240 hours of work in 6 weeks or less.

Learn more about the Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program, who can apply, the application process and more below. 

Who can apply for the Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program (SAWP)?

To be eligible for this program, worker must be from participating countries. Furthermore, work activity must be on-farm primary agriculture and production must be in specific commodity categories.

Participating countries 

You must be a national of the following countries to participate in this program: 

  • Mexico
  • Caribbean countries of:
    • Anguilla
    • Antigua and Barbuda
    • Barbados
    • Dominica
    • Grenada
    • Jamaica
    • Montserrat
    • St. Kitts-Nevis
    • St. Lucia
    • St. Vincent and the Grenadines
    • Trinidad and Tobago

National commodity list

  • Apiary products
  • Fruits, vegetables (including canning/processing of these products if grown on the farm)
  • Mushrooms
  • Flowers
  • Nursery-grown trees including Christmas trees, greenhouses/nurseries
  • Pedigreed canola seed
  • Seed corn
  • Grains
  • Oil seeds
  • Maple syrup
  • Sod
  • Tobacco
  • Bovine
  • Dairy
  • Duck
  • Horse
  • Mink
  • Poultry
  • Sheep
  • Swine

How to apply for the Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program? 

Each foreign government has its method of recruiting and selecting employees. The governments of participating countries will:

Recruit and choose the workers and ensure employees have the essential documentation

Have to maintain a pool of qualified workers, and assign representatives to help the workers in Canada

The government of participating countries are also responsible to ensure selected workers are:

  • experienced in farming
  • at least 18 years of age
  • able to satisfy the:
    • Canadian immigration laws, and
    • laws of the worker’s home country

Pay your application fees

Your fee amount and payment options depend on the location you are applying from. In addition, you may also need to pay for biometrics. 

To learn more about the fee amount and how to pay, refer to this IRCC link. First, enter where you are applying from and the type of application you are submitting. Then, select the best fit options from the drop-down menu, and hit “Get payment instructions.”

Working with other employers 

While in Canada, it is possible that you may need to work on more than one farm and have different employers. However, you do not need a new work permit to work for different employers. 

Nevertheless, it is important to note that you will not be asked to work for a different employer on another farm without your consent. 

Remember that if you are on an employer-specific work permit, you can only work for the employer listed on your work permit. Moreover, before you apply for this program, your employer must have a positive Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA).

Use National Occupation Classification 2021 

With the implementation of the new TEER system, IRCC has updated to use the latest version of the National Occupation Classification (NOC), which is NOC 2021. 

As a result, if you have on or after November 16, 2022, ensure that you use the NOC 2021 codes. Nevertheless, if you submitted your application before November 16, you can continue using the NOC 2016 in your application. 

For more information of the Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program, check out IRCC’s official page.

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