If you are a citizen of the twelve countries listed below, you may be eligible to apply for a Work Permit under the Seasonal Agriculture Worker Program (SAWP). The article explains what the SAWP is, and its requirements for temporary workers.

The Seasonal Agriculture Worker Program was born more than 50 years ago, following the signing by Canada of bilateral conventions with the participating countries. These conventions describe the responsibilities of the participating countries’ governments:

  • keep a list of farm workers, 
  • help with the gathering of documents, and
  • provide a person of contact in Canada to supply assistance when in need.

Your Work Permit cannot exceed 8 months, between the January 1st and December 15th of each year. 

You may be asked to work on more than one farm while you’re in Canada. You don’t need a new work permit for each employer.

If you are hired to work as a seasonal farmer in Quebec, you will need to apply for a “Certificat d’Acceptation du Québec” (CAQ). You can find more information here.

You will need to enter into contact with your government officials. They are responsible for hiring workers under this program and help you gather all the documents needed to apply for the Work Permit. 

You can qualify for the Seasonal Agriculture Worker Program (SAWP) if: you’re a citizen of a country that takes part in the program (see below), your government recruited you, and you’ll be working for SAWP employers in Canada.

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

You cannot apply online for this program, only by mail. After completing and signing the requested forms, assembling the supporting documentation, and paying your fees, you will have to send the application by mail to this address.

Nationals from a set of countries may have to supply their biometrics (fingerprints scanning and photograph) for a $85 fee. You can check here if you have to give them.

You have to go to a doctor authorized by IRCC to undergo Medical Exams. .

For the Self-Employed Persons Program, the fees are $1,575 for the Business Immigration Application Fee and $500 for Right of Permanent Residence Fee (RPRF). You can only pay online the total fee of $2,075 (here). 

For a spouse/partner, the fees are $825 for the application fee and $500 for the RPRF. There’s an additional $225 fee for each dependent child.

If your application began processing, the application fees ($1,575 for the principal applicant and $825 for the spouse/partner) will not be refunded. If you decided to remove your application, or not to come to Canada, or if your application was denied, you can get the RPRF ($500) refunded.

You should not apply to this program if you intend to reside in Quebec. The province has its own equivalent of the Self-Employed Persons Program, called the Self-Employed Workers Program.

The eligibility requirements are completely different from those of the federal program. 

An application for the Self-Employed Persons Program is processed approximately within 24 months. 

Check here for current processing times. Choose “Economic Class”, then “Self-Employed Persons (Federal)”.