Canada Eases Program Requirements For Rural and North Immigration Pilot

Canada immigration minister, Marco Mendicino, made two major announcements on changes to the Rural and North Immigration Pilot (RNIP) on Dec. 14.

Candidates for RNIP no longer need to have accumulated work experience over a period of time. Instead, Canada will count the work experience requirements if it was completed within the last three years prior to the application.

One year of eligible work experience is still needed to qualify for the program, but having breaks in employment does not make someone, not qualified for the program. This applies to all who have already registered for the pilot, as well as those who apply in the future.

Also, Canada’s immigration ministry (IRCC) is also allowing RNIP applicants who are expecting a decision on their Canadian permanent residence application to apply for a work permit without being affected due to processing delays. This temporary measure applies to applicants who are going through the process during the pandemic.

Despite these changes, candidates will still need to meet the admissibility and program criteria of the Rural and North Immigration Pilot in order to come to Canada through the pilot.

The RNIP allows some rural communities in Canada to offer immigration pathways to permanent residency for skilled workers. Participating communities are allowed to set their own eligibility requirement based on their local labor market needs.

“The Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot, and other pilot programs, are helping to get the skilled workers we need to places like Thunder Bay, where we need them,” Marco Mendicino said. “We are going to continue working to make sure that immigration benefits are felt in cities and towns across our country.”

There are eleven (11) rural communities participating in the pilot including:

  • North Bay, Ontario;
  • Sudbury, Onatario;
  • Timmins, Ontario;
  • Thunder Bay, Ontario;
  • Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario;
  • Brandon, Manitoba;
  • Claresholm, Alberta;
  • Altona/Rhineland, Manitoba;
  • Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan;
  • Vernon, British Columbia; and
  • West Kootenay, British Columbia.

The new measures come as the immigration ministry announces the first permanent residents accepted under RNIP program. Brilla Mercy Kunjumon and Alexander Nangpukin Likilasua are working as licensed practical nurses in Sault Ste. Marie.

“New immigrants have played an important role in our hospitals and long-term care homes during the COVID-19 pandemic,” Marco Mendicino said in the media release. “They also account for approximatly one in four of Canada’s practical nurses—like Brilla and Alexander—and one in three of our family doctors and pharmacists.”

Immigrants make up about thirty-six (36) percent of Canada’s pharmacists and family physicians, thirty-nine (39) percent of all dentists, twenty-seven (27) percent of all licensed practical nurses, and thirty-five (35) percent of nurse aides and related occupations.

More than forty (40) percent of all new permanent residents to Canada between 2011 and 2016 who were hired in the health-care sector were employed in nursing and residential care facilities, as well as home-care services.

“The recovery from the COVID-19 crisis will only increase the competition for diverse talents,” said Maryam Monsef, Canada’s minister for gender equality, and rural economic development.

“The changes to the Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot will create more jobs in rural areas and respond to the needs of employers from our rural economic development strategy.”