March 30, 2020 – As the Canadian Government continues to monitor the COVID-19 outbreak, many delays have been announced by Immigration Refugee Citizenship Canada (IRCC) and Provincial Nominee Programs (PNP’s). One of the latest delays is the opening the Agri-Food Immigration Pilot, a 3-year Pilot program announced in July 2019 to address the labour shortage in the Canadian agri-food sectorfor mushroom farming and meat processing. A total of 2,750 slots would be open per year for applicants and their immediate family members. Canada has introduced several Pilot programs in the past to address labour needs and they have all be carried out according to expected timelines. At the moment, organizations are facing delays and many of the organizations IRCC relies on for documentation are closed. This makes it difficult for new applicants who did not compile all the documentation prior to this outbreak. Unfortunately, the unprecedented spread of COVID-19 has created risks and danger to the health, safety and security of Canadians, Canadian permanent residents and their families with regards to food security. Further updates will be posted online including details on how to apply. The portal is expected to open on May 15, 2020 and will be open until May 15, 2023 for new applications. In order to apply for permanent residency under the Agri-Food Immigration Pilot Program, the candidate must receive a full-time, permanent job offer in one of the key industries and occupation on the eligibility list. A minimum of 1 year of Canadian work experience (within the last 3 years) in one of the eligible occupations is required. Candidates must hold a minimum of High School Education and obtain minimum language test scores (CLB/NCLC level 4). Minimum settlement funds are also required for permanent residency. Although Canada has many pathways to Canada Permanent Residency, as the COVID-19 continues to cause a global crisis, the employment sector is suffering tremendously. The Government is faced with balancing the needs of the country’s mandate to bring in more immigrants; however, Canadians and Permanent Residents are facing record high unemployment and layoffs. During this pandemic and even the after-effects, Canada will have important decisions to make and one of them appears to be halting certain programs where there currently is a high unemployment rate. Unfortunately, on the immigration side, this doesn’t provide positive news. At this time, applications are still being accepted under Express Entry and some of the Provincial and Pilot programs. For those of you in the healthcare industry, this is the perfect