Canada Relaxes Work Experience Requirement For Rural & Northern Immigration Pilot

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Canada Relaxes Work Experience Requirement For Rural & Northern Immigration Pilot
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A relaxation of the Rural & Northern Immigration Pilot (RNIP) work experience requirements and a new temporary work permit measure have been announced by Canada’s federal immigration authority.

The work experience change means the one year (or 1,560 hours) of experience required in the previous three years no longer has to be continuous.

Candidates can now qualify for permanent residence through the community-driven program even if there were breaks in their employment.

The change is applicable to all applications received under the pilot, which gradually opened in 11 Canadian communities throughout 2020.


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The new requirement ensures candidates are not penalized for breaks in employment, including temporary work interruptions or layoffs caused by the pandemic, says Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).

Meanwhile, a new temporary measure announced by IRCC means candidates waiting for a decision on their permanent residence applications through the RNIP can apply for a work permit without being penalized due to pandemic-related processing delays.

The first permanent residents accepted under the RNIP – two licensed practical nurses in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario – were announced on Monday December 14, 2020. 

“Newcomers have played an outsized role in our hospitals and long-term care homes during the pandemic,” said Immigration Minister Marco Mendicino.

He added: “The RNIP and other pilots are helping to get the workers we need to places like Sault Ste. Marie. We’re going to continue working to ensure that the benefits of immigration are felt in cities and towns across our country.”


What is the Rural & Northern Immigration Pilot?

The Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot is designed to help bring new skilled worker immigrants to smaller communities.

The five-year federal immigration pilot is designed to help smaller communities with aging populations and labour shortages, which struggle to attract and retain new immigrants.

It is a community-driven program that aims to spread out the benefit of immigration.

To be included in the pilot, communities must:

  • Have a population of 50,000 or less and be located at least 75km from the core of a Census Metropolitan Area, OR
  • Have a population of up to 200,000 people and be considered remote from other larger cities, according to the Statistics Canada Remoteness Index.

RNIP: Steps to Permanent Residence

  1. Candidates must check they meet both the federal government eligibility requirements and community-specific requirements (see below).
  2. Find an eligible job with an employer in one of the participating communities (listed below).
  3. Candidates with a job offer can submit an application for recommendation to the community.
  4. Candidates with a community recommendation can apply for permanent residence.

RNIP: Participating Communities

Community Community website
North Bay, ON www.northbayrnip.ca
Sudbury, ON www.investsudbury.ca/how-can-we-help/immigration-options/
Timmins, ON Timmins RNIP
Sault Ste. Marie, ON www.welcometossm.com
Thunder Bay, ON www.gothunderbay.com
Brandon, MB www.economicdevelopmentbrandon.com
Altona/Rhineland, MB www.seedrgpa.com
Moose Jaw, SK www.moosejawrnip.ca
Claresholm, AB www.claresholm.ca/rural-northern-immigration-pilot
Vernon, BC www.rnip-vernon.ca
West Kootenay (Trail, Castlegar, Rossland, Nelson), BC www.wk-rnip.ca

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