Shelton, 21, is to play troublesome Robbie - who stirs up life at Home Farm when he makes his arrival later this year.
Robbie shares a connection with ruthless businesswoman Megan Macey (Gaynor Faye) and his presence sees her confronted with a past she had hoped to forget.
In real life, Shelton was born in Manchester and he has previously appeared in Innit the Musical at the Lowry theatre in Salford.
Shelton commented: "I'm really excited to be joining Emmerdale. Robbie is going to be a great character to play."
Emmerdale's series producer Stuart Blackburn added: "I'm delighted to welcome Jamie to the cast. Robbie will certainly stir things up at Home Farm. He is a tough nut to crack and it will be a while before we get past the 'front' Robbie is well used to putting on."
Show bosses have also teased that Robbie's arrival "will test the loyalties of everyone around him" and could expose some skeletons that Megan had hoped to hide.
Shelton will soon begin filming his first Emmerdale scenes ahead of his screen debut in May.
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