Have you thought about moving and settling in Canada but are overwhelmed, anxious, or don’t know where to begin?
Read on to know more about the Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot (RNIP) program and how to apply for it.
What is the RNIP program in Canada?
The Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot (RNIP) is an economic and community-driven program targeted at foreign nationals looking to move to Canada.
Individuals who have received a recommendation from community members, have obtained a job offer within that community’s jurisdiction, and meet requirements in terms of education and language skills, are encouraged to apply.
The program was started in 2019 and aims to fill the growing gaps of labour, skills, expertise, and diversity in the working and rural communities of Canada. It is a step forward in enhancing the lucrative opportunities that can aid the decision of immigrating to the country.
Why the RNIP is important
The RNIP is driven by its motivation to improve community lifestyle and progress.
It is built to share the benefits that the integration of diverse and skilled workers from around the globe can bring, especially to smaller and more rural regions.
Facing aging populations and labour shortages, smaller communities can benefit from this five-year federal immigration program as they struggle to attract immigrants. This can help to attract skilled workers who might otherwise choose to migrate to bigger cities.
Communities open to applicants
Currently, these 11 communities are operating under the pilot program:
- 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
Which communities are eligible for RNIP?
To be eligible and included in this pilot, communities must:
- Have a population of or less than 50,000 people and be located at least 75km away from the core of a Census Metropolitan Area OR;
- Have a population of up to 200,000 people and be considered ‘remote’ according to the Statistics Canada Remoteness Index, when compared to larger cities.
Federal eligibility requirements for the RNIP in Canada
When considering an application it may be helpful for you to consider the following:
Work experience OR International Student Exemption
To be an eligible applicant to the RNIP, you must either have qualifying work experience or have graduated from a publicly-funded program in the community you intend to reside in.
The work experience requirement can be met by having at least ONE year of full or part-time work experience and history within the span of the last three years, i.e., a minimum of 1560 hours worked.
The following provisos apply:
- This experience can have been accumulated over the past three years. An exemption to the usual continuous commitment requirement is currently in place as a result of work-related disruptions caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.
- The work experience can be from different employers, but must be in the same occupational field.
- Self employed and unpaid hours do not count towards the work experience.
- The work must include the main duties listed in the National Occupational Classification (NOC) for that role.
If you don’t meet the work experience requirement, you may be eligible for the International Student Exemption if:
- If you graduated with credentials from a MINIMUM two-year long post-secondary program in the community, in which:
- You studied as a full-time student for the duration of two or more years.
- You received your graduate credentials no more than 18 months before the date of your application for permanent residence under RNIP.
- You resided in the community for a minimum of 16 out of the 24 months spent studying to gain your credentials.
- If you graduated with a master’s degree or higher, in which:
- You studied as a full-time student for the duration of the degree obtained in the community.
- You received your degree and credentials no more than 18 months before the date of your application for permanent residence under RNIP.
- You resided within the community for the length of your education.
You must hold a Canadian High School Diploma OR an equivalent foreign credential along with an accredited Educational Credential Assessment (ECA) report.
People applying for permanent residence under the RNIP program in Canada must meet the requirements of the Canadian Language Benchmarks (CLB) or Niveaux de Compétence Linguistique Canadiens (NCLC) set by the National Occupational Classification (NOC) for their respective field.
The RNIP program requires you to demonstrate proof of settlement funds.
This means that – depending on the number of members in your family, and regardless of whether they intend on accompanying the applicant to Canada – you must prove to hold enough funds in Canadian Dollars to yourself and your family during the settlement period.
Those already legally working in the country are exempt from this requirement of proof.
Intent to reside
Lastly, to be eligible and allowed participation in this pilot program, you must plan on living within the community to which you are applying.
Each community also has its own specific requirements on this that may vary slightly from the other.
How to apply for the RNIP in Canada
As with any immigration process, paying close attention to detail can be a helpful way to avoid errors.
Once you meet all the federal requirements, the next steps are to:
Secure a job offer
All applicants must have an offer for full-time employment located in the community to which they are applying. This job offer must meet minimum wage requirements and should meet your qualified skills according to the NOC. This is also one of the key ways in which RNIP differs from the Express Entry Program, wherein immigrants are allowed to continue job searches once in the country.
Apply for a recommendation
Once the community to which you apply has granted you a recommendation, you can apply for permanent residence. Each community has its own website where all the necessary information about recommendations can be found.
For security, identity, and safety, the permanent residence application needs photo and fingerprint scans once you apply.
Complete all necessary paperwork
There are several key forms that need to be filled by several entities.
- Forms for your employer to fill and give to you to submit with your application after signing:
- Offer of Employment to a Foreign National – RNIP IMM 5984.
- Forms for the Economic Development Organization of the community:
- Recommendation from the designated Economic Development Organization – RNIP IMM 0112
- Forms for you, the applicant:
- IMM 008; IMM 5669; IMM 5884; IMM 5911; IMM 5406; IMM 5562; IMM 5604; IMM 5409; IMM 5476.
Ensuring you have filled each section of the form correctly and coherently will help to avoid rejections and/or delays in the process.
Pay your application fees online
The fee amount can be easily calculated.
Submit your application!
How long does it take to process your application?
The average processing time for permanent residency applications under the RNIP is between 12 to 18 months.
5 things to emphasize in your application (and 3 to avoid)
Applications can be stressful.
The following do’s and don’t may help you to focus your energy on the most important aspects of the application.
5 important Dos:
Identify which program and community you need to apply to: While RNIP is broadly the same across locations, some details are community-specific.
Organize your documents: Gathering and keeping copies of your documents ready can be a good way to get ahead and avoid any delays in ordering documentation.
Be honest and accurate: Lying and misrepresenting facts and statuses is a punishable crime and can even result in the rejection of your application, so take your time answering each question as honestly as you can.
Check expiry dates: documents such as passports and other identity cards can expire without you realizing it. Making sure your documents are up to date can help to streamline the application process.
Explain employment or education gaps: It may help to have an explanation prepared if you have any substantial gaps on your resume, as you may be asked about these periods of time.
3 important Don’ts:
Don’t miss a deadline: Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) aims to make the process as fast and efficient as possible, and this includes the imposing of strict deadlines. If there is a delay in the submission of an aspect of your application, you might face a delay or a rejection.
Don’t forget to attach documents: The CIC provides a coherent list of documents required, and failure to include these may risk your application being rejected.
Don’t skip on research: With Canada offering more than 80 different pathways to immigration, it can be easy to get confused about the requirements! Taking the time to research and identify the program that best suits your needs may help to save time in the long run.
Are you ready to apply?
Whether you’re ready to apply or need more info, check out Express Entry to kick-start your Canadian immigration journey.