For most people considering a move to Canada, larger cities such as Vancouver, Toronto, and Montreal tend to be target destinations. Now, an initiative by the federal government hopes to open up new opportunities in new, and perhaps previously unconsidered locations with the Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot program (RNIP).
When it first announced the pilot program in June 2019, the Government of Canada cited the decrease of available workers in rural Canada as a reason to support the program. Rural communities employ over four million Canadians and account for almost 30 per cent of the national GDP. Yet, between 2001 and 2016, the number of potential workers has decreased by 23 per cent, while the number of potential retirees has increased by 40 per cent.
The RNIP is poised to help fill this gap.
“The equation is quite simple. Attracting and retaining newcomers with the needed skills equals a recipe for success for Canada’s rural and northern communities. We have tested a similar immigration pilot in Atlantic Canada and it has already shown tremendous results for both newcomers and Canadians,” said the Honourable Ahmed Hussen, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship when the pilot was announced.
What is the Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot?
The RNIP is designed to simultaneously help both smaller communities looking to benefit from economic immigration and skilled newcomers to Canada wanting a path to permanent residency in one of the participating communities.
This community-driven program is currently up and running in six locations, but will soon expand to 11. Each community will assess prospective candidates, recommend candidates for permanent residence to IRCC, and connect newcomers with settlement services and mentoring opportunities with established members of the community.
What is the application process?
The RNIP has a four-step process for newcomers to complete in applying for permanent residence. According to the RNIP website, applicants must:
- Meet both Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) eligibility requirements and community-specific requirements, which you will find on each community’s website. IRCC requirements include:
- Having qualifying work experience or having graduated from a publicly funded post-secondary institution in the recommending community
- Meeting or exceeding language requirements
- Meeting or exceeding educational requirements
- Proving you have enough money to support your transition into the community
- Demonstrating you intend to live in the community
- Find an eligible job with an employer in one of the RNIP-participating communities.
- Submit an application for recommendation to the community once you have a job offer in hand. Each community has a unique recommendation process, which is listed on their community website. These sites will outline how the application process works and which documents you’ll need in order to apply for a recommendation.
- Apply for permanent residence if the community recommends you.
Where are the participating communities?
Because the pilot is in its early stages and is rolling out one location at a time, there are currently six communities actively participating in RNIP:
- Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario
- Thunder Bay, Ontario
- Brandon, Manitoba
- Altona/Rhineland, Manitoba
- Claresholm, Alberta
- Vernon, British Columbia
The next communities slated for participation are:
- West Kootenay (Trail, Castlegar, Rossland, and Nelson), British Columbia – will begin accepting applications in April 2020
- Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan – will begin accepting applications in April 2020
Timing for these locations in Ontario is still pending:
If you think you might be interested in applying for this unique pilot project, visit the Government of Canada’s website for further details, and then delve into each community’s page to consider which might be the right location for you.
Want to learn even more about employment in Canada? Attend our Newcomers Canada events in Vancouver on April 18, or Toronto on May 23 to connect with employers looking for talent like yours.