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The Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot (RNIP) Gets More Flexibility

The Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot (RNIP) Gets More Flexibility

Under the revised rules for the Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot (RNIP), candidates now have more flexibility for their work experience requirement. 

What is the RNIP? 

The Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot (RNIP) is, according to IRCC, “a community-driven program that spreads the benefits of economic immigration to smaller communities. It helps these communities to attract the workers they need by creating a path to permanent residence for skilled foreign workers.”

The RNIP is, in many ways, similar to a provincial nominee program. Albeit, on a much smaller scale. Candidates must meet federal immigration requirements as well as specific regional requirements as set forth by the participating community. If the candidate qualifies, they receive a recommendation from their community to apply for permanent residence. 

The RNIP has similar characteristics to the Liberal Government’s proposal in 2019 for a municipal nominee program. This yet to be released program promises to give municipalities more authority on the type of immigration candidates they wish to select — much like the RNIP does for rural communities. 

What’s changed?

The Dec. 14 announcement outlines two changes to the program that provides applicants with additional flexibility.

The first change is the removal of the requirement that an applicant has to have one year of continuous work experience. Under the new rules, candidates will not be penalized if they have short breaks in employment. 

All a candidate needs to do is prove they have acquired the equivalent of one year of full-time employment (or equivalent part-time experience) in the three years preceding the application. This change applies to all current and future RNIP applications. 

The second change is a temporary measure that allows RNIP applicants, with applications pending, to apply for a Canadian work permit. This ensures that candidates have continuous status in Canada throughout the processing of the application. 

Who is eligible? 

This program is for someone who has close connections to a rural community that is taking part in the pilot program. You must qualify for the federal component of the program as well as the specific requirements of the community where you intend to settle. 

Work experience: You need one year of work experience (at least 1,560 hours) in the past three years. Part-time experience, as long as it adds up to 1,560 hours, is also acceptable. Certain communities have specific requirements for the type of work experience they will accept so it’s important to verify your experience matches their criteria. 

Education: High school or secondary education is acceptable for this program but there are advantages if you have higher education credentials. Candidates are exempt from the work experience requirement if they are an international student in Canada that has a two-year post-secondary diploma or a Master’s degree or higher. You will need to have graduated less than 18 months before you apply for permanent residence through the RNIP. 

Language: The language requirements for the RNIP must match the language requirements for the occupation you are applying under. You can find the NOC code for your occupation here.  

Adaptability: You must intend to live in the community that nominates you. You also need to meet the specific requirements of that region. The specific requirements of the communities vary but some have specific occupations they target. While others require a job offer from an employer. 

Participating RNIP communities 

Thunder Bay
Sault Ste. Marie
North Bay 

Gretna-Rhineland-Altona-Plum Coulee

Moose Jaw


British Columbia
West Kootenay 
Vernon, British Columbia

Adam Pinsky

Adam Pinsky has a keen interest in all things immigration and has been working in the industry for 11 years.

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