Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot

Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot

October 1, 2019

What is the Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot program?

The Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot (RNIP) seeks to help smaller communities with aging populations and labor shortages, to attract newcomers and support their settlement.

These communities test new approaches to using immigration and creating environments for new immigrants to stay in rural communities. The pilot will not only help increase long-term retention of skilled newcomers to rural areas with community-based partners but also with other federal government partners and provincial and territorial governments.

 Requirements / Eligibility

To be considered eligible for the RNIP, the applicants must meet all these requirements. Now, let’s look closer to the details of each requirement. To make sure you do not miss anything.

1. Recommendation

The applicants must get recommended from 1 of the participating communities (the list of selected communities is at the end).

They decide who to recommend based on their

  • Intent to live in the community
  • Job offer and the economic needs of the community
  • Work experience and skillset
  • Ties to the community

2. Work experience

Your work experience needs to be continuous for a year (at least 1,560 hours) in the past 3 years. The hours of work experience is count for both part-time and full-time jobs. The hours must be in 1 occupation and for at least 12 months. They can be with different employers and inside or outside Canada (if you worked in Canada, you must have a temporary resident with authorization). Self-employed, volunteering or unpaid internships do not count.

Apart from attaining enough hours, your work experience must also include

  • A substantial number of the main duties and all the essential duties in the National Occupational Classification (NOC).
  • The activities listed in the lead statement of your NOC

You can search for what duties are involved here.

There is an exception for you to be exempt from the work experience criteria above. It is that you are an international student who graduated with

A credential from a more-than-2-year post-secondary program and 

  • Studied as a full-time student for more-than-2-years
  • Received the credential within 18 months before the application
  • Have been to the community for at least 16 months of the last 24 months spent obtaining your credential

Or a master’s degree or higher and 

  • Studying as a full-time student for the duration of your degree
  • Obtained the degree within 18 months before your application
  • Have been to the community for the length of your studies

You, however, cannot apply as an international student if your credentials are from a program in which

  • Study English or French made up more than half of the program
  • Distance learning made up more than half of the program
  • A scholarship or fellowship was awarded that requires your return to home country to apply what you learned

3. Job offer

For the job offer criteria, the applicant must be offered a job to ensure their application even more. And that job has to meet all the requirement down here:

4. Skill level

Your job offer must be at the same skill level, 1 level above or below the NOC that matches your work experience.

However, if your experience is in NOC skill level D, the offered job must be in the same occupation. Examples for this case: 

  • NOC 0 job offer: work experience in NOC 0 or A
  • NOC A job offer: work experience in NOC 0, A or B
  • NOC B job offer: work experience in NOC A, B or C
  • NOC C job offer: work experience in NOC B or C
  • NOC D job offer: work experience in the same occupation

5. Language requirements

The adaption of each applicant is determined by how well they speak Canada’s official language. So, there is a need for minimum language requirements. This can be measured either be Canadian Language Benchmarks (CLB) and Niveaux de compétence linguistique canadiens (NCLC)

To prove your ability in English or French, you can take any of these approved language tests:

For English: 

  • CELPIP-General Test
  • IELTS General Training option

For French

  • TEF Canada
  • TCF Canada

Furthermore, the minimum language requirements are based on the skill level of your job offer. You then just have to reach the requirement of your skill level. 

  • Skill level NOC 0 and A: CLB/NCLC 6
  • Skill level NOC B: CLB/NCLC 5
  • Skill level  NOC C and D: CLB/NCLC 4

The results you submit have to be less than 2 years by the time the program is occurring.

6. Educational requirements

A Canadian high school diploma or an educational credential assessment (ECA) report is needed for the educational criteria. This will be proof that you completed a Canadian credential or a foreign credential that is equal to Canadian high school.

Your ECA report can only be approved by the Government if it is from one of these designed organizations: 

  • Comparative Education Service – University of Toronto School of Continuing Studies
  • International Credential Assessment Service of Canada
  • World Education Services
  • International Qualifications Assessment Service
  • International Credential Evaluation Service

However, with a large employer or regulated occupation, you need a specifically designated organization to take the assessment. Check your employer for more information here.

Also, the ECA report must be less than 5 years on the date of the applicant and issued on or after the date the organization was designated.

7. Settlement funds

Your sufficient settlement funds must be given when you get settled in the community. Unless you are already working legally in Canada when you apply, then you do not have to anymore.

At the same time, you must also show proof that you have enough money to support any family members, even if they are not coming to Canada with you.

Here are the detailed numbers: 

1 person: $8,722 CAD
2 persons: $10,858 CAD
3 persons: $13,348 CAD
4 persons: $16,206 CAD
5 persons: $18,380 CAD
6 persons: $20,731 CAD
7 persons or more $23,080 CAD

The list of selected communities in the pilot: 

  • North Bay, ON
  • Sudbury, ON
  • Timmins, ON
  • Sault Ste. Marie, ON
  • Thunder Bay, ON
  • Brandon, MB
  • Altona/Rhineland, MB
  • Moose Jaw, SK
  • Claresholm, AB
  • Vernon, BC
  • West Kootenay (Trail, Castlegar, Rossland, Nelson), BC

How to apply to a community?

The Government of Canada is yet to announce details on the immigration process. More information will be updated once further applicant requirements are provided. 

But the general complete application process will work like this:

  1. Selected communities participate in the pilot
  2. Community and/or employer approaches potential candidate or the prospective candidate associate with the community and/or employer
  3. Candidate applies for a recommendation 
  4. Community reviews applications and selects candidates
  5. Community endorses candidate makes them eligible to apply to IRCC for permanent residence
  6. The candidate submits the Permanent Residence application 
  7. The candidate is assessed against Federal Selection Criteria and Admissibility requirements
  8. The candidate obtains Permanent Residence to Canada
  9. Candidate and his family members arrive in the community and community provides services to support their settlement and integration

What you can expect from a community?

The participating communities were selected to assist in laying out the blueprint for the rest of the country. Together with local economic development organizations, they will provide the applicants with

  • Promoted pilot and communities
  • Key players within the community
  • Job opportunities in the local economy
  • Assess to prospective candidates
  • A welcoming community and strong support networks for immigrants
  • Establishment of members to the community and settlement services
  • Report on the results of the pilot in the community.

Besides participation in the RNIP, each of the above provinces has its own Provincial Nominee Program. These programs allow immigration for certain categories of immigrants like skilled workers, international students, and entrepreneurs.


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