Applications to the Farm Management stream of the Self-Employed Program have been stopped by Canada’s immigration authorities.
The stream issued permanent residence to candidates wanting to buy and manage a farm in Canada who had prior experience totalling two one-year stints in agriculture management.
However, feedback from visa officers indicates the processing of farm management applications is extremely time-consuming and the vast majority are rejected. In fact, statistics show that in 2015-2016, 99 per cent of farm management applications were turned down.
Visa officers report that only a handful of quality farm management applications have been submitted in recent years. The majority are submitted to the New Delhi visa office, although there is a significant inventory in other locations.
Self-Employed Program: Required Experience
Cultural Activities Stream
- two one-year periods being self-employed in cultural activities, or
- two one-year periods participating at a world-class level in cultural activities, or
- a combination of a one-year period described in A above, and a one-year period described above.
- two one-year periods being self-employed in athletics, or
- two one-year periods participating at a world class level in athletics, or
- a combination of a one-year period described in a above, and a one-year period described above.
Farm Management Stream
- two one-year periods managing a farm.
Applications received have generally come from small-scale farmers who lack the experience to manage a large-scale mechanized farm. Applications are driven by mostly unlicensed immigration consultants primarily from India who offer boiler plate ready-made business proposals which look good on paper but do not hold up in interviews. The majority of farm management cases require an interview, which is resource-intensive.
The Self-Employed Program also features streams for candidates involved in cultural activities or athletics at a high level. Visa officers consider these streams useful pathways to permanent residence for people who can make a significant contribution to Canadian society but may not be able to qualify under other immigration programs.
Statistics show the Self-Employed Program overall has a high rejection rate, with just 21 per cent of applications approved in 2015. Processing times are also high, currently averaging 62 months largely weighted by applications in New Delhi.
Ottawa is encouraged to review and reform the Self-Employed Program to ensure it is aligned with federal government immigration objectives.
The Quebec immigration authority operates its own version of the Self-Employed Program under a very limited quota which fills quickly.
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