Canada’s Rural & Northern Immigration Pilot Set For Expansion

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Canada’s Rural & Northern Immigration Pilot Set For Expansion
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Canada immigration news: Canada has moved to expand the Rural & Northern Immigration Pilot (RNIP) – although it will not add any new communities to the program.

Immigration Minister Sean Fraser announced several changes to take effect in the fall, including the expansion of existing areas and an increase in the number of qualifying jobs.

Communities will also be allowed to participate for a more extended period – until August 24 – while Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) have also moved to decrease the required settlement funds.

The 11 RNIP communities are: 

  • North Bay (Ont.), 
  • Sudbury (Ont.), 
  • Timmins, (Ont.), 
  • Sault Ste. Marie (Ont.), 
  • Thunder Bay (Ont.), 
  • Brandon (Man.), 
  • Altona/Rhineland (Man.), 
  • Moose Jaw (Sask.), 
  • Claresholm (Alta.), 
  • West Kootenay (BC) and 
  • Vernon (BC).

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“Rural and northern communities face unique economic and demographic challenges, and the expansion of RNIP announced today makes it that much easier for communities to fill their critical labour market needs,” Fraser said. 

“They also expand community boundaries so that employers in remote areas can access the program, helping to support economic development and growth in smaller communities across the country.”

As of June 30, 1,130 new immigrants have arrived in RNIP communities, helping address labour shortages in key sectors such as health care, hospitality and food services, retail, manufacturing and transportation.

IRCC estimates the RNIP could welcome 125 new immigrants and their family members each year, with a maximum of 2,750 applicants accepted for processing.


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What is The RNIP?

The RNIP 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 is considered remote from other larger cities, according to the Statistics Canada Remoteness Index.

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

Federal Government Eligibility Requirements

1) Work Experience/International Student Exemption

Candidates must have qualifying work experience or have graduated from a publicly-funded post-secondary institution in the recommending community.

Work Experience

  • Candidates must have one year (1,560 hours) of full or part-time work experience in the last three years.
  • The work experience does not need to be continuous; it just needs to be accumulated in the last three years.
  • The work experience must be in one occupation, but can be with different employers.
  • It must include most of the main duties and all of the essential duties listed in the National Occupational Classification (NOC).
  • Unpaid and self-employed hours do not count.

International Students

Candidates who are international students are exempt from needing work experience provided they meet the following requirements:

Scenario 1

  • They graduated with a credential from a minimum two-year-long post-secondary program in the recommending community.
  • They were studying as a full-time student for the full duration of two or more years.
  • They received the credential no more than 18 months before the date of application for permanent residence.
  • They were in the community for at least 16 of the last 24 months spent studying to get the credential.

Scenario 2

  • They graduate with a master’s degree or higher
  • They studied as a full-time student for the duration of the degree in the recommending community.
  • They received the degree no more than 18 months before the date of application for permanent residence.
  • They were in the community for the length of their studies.

2) Language Requirements

Candidates must meet the Canadian Language Benchmarks (CLB) or Niveaux de compétence linguistique canadiens (NCLC) based on the National Occupational Classification of their job.

The minimum language requirements for each NOC category are

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

3) Educational Requirements

Candidates must have a Canadian high school diploma or an equivalent foreign credential with an accredited educational credential assessment (ECA) report.

4) Settlement Funds

Candidates must prove they have enough money to support themselves and family members while they get settled in their community. This includes family members who may not be coming to Canada.

Candidates already working legally in Canada are exempt from settlement fund requirements.

Number of family members Funds you need
(in Canadian dollars)
1 $8,722
2 $10,858
3 $13,348
4 $16,206
5 $18,380
6 $20,731
7 or more $23,080

5) Intention to Reside

To participate in the pilot, you must plan to live in the community.


Community-Specific Requirements

Each community included in the pilot has its own set of community-specific requirements.

Please visit the website of each community (listed in the table above) to research community-specific requirements.

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