Rural And Northern Immigration Pilot

In 2019, four Canadian cities topped the list for the most number of newcomers. As expected, Toronto led these four cities. In comparison, Toronto was followed by Vancouver, Regina, and Charlottetown.

Canadian cities have long been immigration hotspots. This should not come as a shock to any observer. After all, Canadian cities have earned a reputation for job opportunities and vibrance.

The influx of immigrants to Canadian cities engenders a problem that was unaddressed until recently.

When one says that Canada requires immigrants, one has to mean that “All of Canada” needs immigrants. By all, we mean not only cities. Despite having 162 cities, Canada does have rural areas as well.

With most immigrants flocking to the cities, the rural and northern parts of Canada continue to experience the effects of a labour force nearing the age of retirement.

To address this issue, the Canadian government launched the Rural And Northern Immigration Pilot Program. The program was designed to attract immigrants to live and work in some of Canada’s rural and northern communities.

If you are considering a life away from the hustle and bustle of city life, you might be interested in the Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot.

What Is The Rural And Northern Immigration Pilot Program?

In the past, the Canadian government has taken several steps in “redirecting” immigration to less popular areas. Success has already been experienced with the Atlantic Immigration Pilot Program. This is evident in the sharp climb in immigration levels to places like Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia.

The Canadian government aimed at replicating this level of success for other parts of the country. In particular, the government of Canada wanted to see more immigrants in the rural parts of the country like Northern Ontario.    

The Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot Program was launched in 2019 to achieve the  immigration targets for Canada’s rural communities. It aims to attract immigrants to smaller communities.

At the time of writing, there are currently 11 participating communities.

  1. Altona/ Rhineland, Manitoba
  2. Brandon, Manitoba
  3. Claresholm, Alberta
  4. Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan
  5. North Bay, Ontario
  6. Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario
  7. Sudbury, Ontario
  8. Timmins, Ontario
  9. Thunder Bay, Ontario
  10. Vernon, British Columbia
  11. West Kootenay (Trail, Castlegar, Rossland, Nelson), British Columbia

Canadian employers or businesses based in these communities could fill in vacancies with immigrants. Successful immigrants could be nominated by these communities for permanent residence.

In short, the Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot Program is similar to the Provincial Nominee Program, except for smaller rural communities.

Eligibility Requirements

To be eligible, you need to meet the requirements specific to each community. These requirements are in the websites mentioned earlier in the table.

Apart from these requirements, there are general requirements you need to meet.

Work Experience


Currently, there are no restrictions when it comes to the type of occupations you could include as work experience. All NOC skill levels and types are acceptable.

Work experience just needs to be:

  • Full-time (1,560 hours for a year) within three years before applying
  • Continuous
  • In the same occupation (may be with different employers)
  • Have all the duties and responsibilities in the occupation’s NOC description

For the Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot Program, unpaid work experience does not count.

English Or French Language Proficiency

The required language test score depends on your NOC classification.

Here are the requirements:

  • NOC 0 and A: at least CLB 6
  • NOC B: at least CLB 5
  • NOC C and D: at least CLB 4

The following language tests are acceptable:

  • Canadian English Language Proficiency Index Program (CELPIP)
  • International English Language Testing System (IELTS)
  • Test D’évaluation Du Français (TEF)
  • Test de Connaissance du Français (TCF)


Educational Requirements

If you are applying from outside Canada, you need to submit an Educational Credential Assessment report.

On the other hand, you may submit other requirements if you are in Canada. You could choose from the following depending on what you currently have:

  • A Canadian secondary high school diploma
  • A post-secondary certificate or diploma from a Canadian post-secondary institution

Proof Of Settlement Funds

The exact amount of money you should have in your proof of funds depends on whether you are coming alone or with company.

If you are coming on your own, you should at least have enough funds to last for six months.

Application Process: Getting A Job Offer


When you apply for permanent residence under the Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot Program, you are applying to receive a community recommendation letter. This is like a provincial nomination. You must include this in your application for permanent residence.

Before getting this, you will need a job offer from an employer in a participating community. You can view job postings in these communities using their main sites.

The sites of the different participating communities were enumerated earlier.

The job offer does not need to follow a positive Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA). Hence, employers can easily give you a job offer.

Nonetheless, the job needs to be:

  • Full-time (30 hours a week, at least)
  • Permanent or indefinite
  • In accordance with Canada’s wage laws and regulations

As mentioned earlier, all NOC skill types and levels are allowed.

Application Process: Getting A Community Recommendation Letter And Permanent Residence

You will receive a community recommendation letter from your desired community once:

  • You meet the eligibility requirements for work experience, education, language skills, and settlement funds.
  • You receive a job offer from an employer in your desired community.

The community recommendation letter proves that you have met the participating community’s eligibility requirements. It also proves that the community is recommending you for permanent residence.

With this letter, you may now apply for permanent residence. You need to include this letter as part of your application.

The application for permanent residence through the Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot is the same as other programs. You just need to add the letter to your application documents.

Once again, the letter is like a provincial nomination. Hence, it increases your chances of being a permanent resident.

What To Do While Waiting For The IRCC’s Decision: Apply For A Work Permit

While waiting, you could apply for a temporary work permit.

This is a temporary work permit that is valid for one year. It is specifically for applicants of the Rural and Northern Immigrant Pilot Program (RNIP). The work permit will allow you to work in your community while waiting for your PR application is ongoing.

Step 1: Gather The Necessary Documents

You need to include the following in your application:

  • Your community recommendation letter
  • Your ECA or educational credentials
  • Proof of settlement funds
  • Your language test results
  • Proof of work experience

Step 2: Create You IRCC Account

To date, the only way to apply for the RNIP work permit is online.

You could create an online account with IRCC in two ways:

The second would require you to have a bank account in Canada. Either way, having an online account allows you to upload your documents and pay the necessary fees.

Step 3: Check The Requirements Specific To Your Home Country

You may need to submit additional documents depending on your country of origin. The main site of the IRCC has a list of these.

Step 4: Complete The Online Form

As you sign in to your newly-created IRCC account, there will be an online form you need to answer.

Once you have completed the form, you will receive a document checklist. From here, you can scan and upload your documents to your profile.

After approval, you will receive your work permit.


You have two choices when you choose your new home in Canada. You could either go to the city. Or, you may opt for the tranquillity of Canada’s smaller rural communities.

If you are inclined towards rural life, you could apply under the Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot Program. Through this program, you will be able to gain permanent residence in some of Canada’s rural and small communities.

Choose Canada Magazine

Each member of our team at Choose Canada Magazine has been in Canada for over five years, and has helped dozens of people worldwide find their life in Canada.

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