Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program – SAWP Canada

Seasonal Agricultural Worker ProgramKwame is a citizen of St. Kitts-Nevis. As a professional farmer, he is familiar with Canada Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program. However, Kwame doesn’t know how to apply. In fact, he has visited many websites but has no clue as to how to receive a work permit under this program.

Many Canadian farmers suffer from the shortage of workforce. Consequently, the government of Canada has signed bilateral agreements with some countries to offer temporary work permits for farm activities in Canada. Of course, these work permits are valid for eight months or less. They call this program SAWP, which stands for the Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program. SAWP workers may not work in Canada during the last two weeks of December. However, the main reason is to make sure the workers do not stay in Canada continuously.

Who may qualify for SAWP?

To qualify for SAWP, you need to meet the following requirements:

You may read the following articles for more information:

How to apply for SAWP

The recruitment process of SAWP workers is the sole responsibility of their home countries.

Consequently, the government of each country takes care of selecting the farmers and introducing them to Canadian farmers.

Responsibilities of the employers

The Canadian employers or rather farmers are responsible for the following:

  • Applying for LMIAs and work permits. They also need to take care of any fees associated with these applications. Of course, there is no processing fee for LMIA applications for this group at this moment, but they still need to take care of professional fees, work permit processing fees, etc.
  • Paying for the round trip of the worker from their country to their place of work in Canada.
  • Taking care of the day-to-day transportation of the workers from their residents to the farm.
  • Offering proper housing to the workers
  • Requesting an official inspection of the residents and present the reports to the IRCC
  • Making sure the workers have health insurance (either via the province or private insurance)
  • Making sure the workplace is safe and meets all necessary standards and requirements
  • Signing a standard employment contract with each worker
  • Offering wages in compliance with the wage tables

Do I need to hire a professional to help me?

If you are a foreign worker, you do not need to hire an immigration professional. However, if you are a Canadian farmer, you may consider hiring a licenced immigration practitioner. The role of the practitioner is to help you with preparing and submitting the LMIA and work permit applications.  Read the following articles for more information:

If you wish to visit or move to Canada, please fill out our free assessment form. We will review the form for free, but we will contact you only if we find an opportunity for you. Alternatively, you may book a consultation session. Consultation sessions are not free, but you will receive formal advice from a licenced practitioner.

Al Parsai, MA, DTM, RCIC
Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant
Ashton College Instructor – Immigration Consulting
Author – 88 Tips on Immigration to Canada


This article provides information of a general nature only. It may no longer be current. It does not give legal advice. Do not rely on it as legal advice or immigration advice. We cannot be held responsible for the content of these articles. If you have specific legal questions, you must consult a lawyer. If you are looking for immigration advice, book an appointment. All the characters in the articles are fictional, unless otherwise clearly stated. Any resemblance in names, dates, and places (whether individuals, organizations, regions, or countries) is coincidental.

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Al Parsai

Al Parsai is a Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant (class L3 RCIC-IRB – Unrestricted Practice) in Toronto, Canada. He is an adjunct professor at Queen's University Law School and Ashton College. Al, who holds a Master of Laws (LLM) degree from York University, is a member of CICC and CAPIC organizations. Al, the CEO of Parsai Immigration Services, has represented thousands of applicants from more than 50 countries to the immigration authorities since January 2011.

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