While Canada welcomes hundreds of thousands of newcomers each year, a vast majority of newcomers settle in larger cities like Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver. While smaller cities and towns in Canada may not offer a bustling, metropolitan lifestyle, there are many advantages of settling down in these regions, including a less competitive job market and lower cost of living.
Unlike broader immigration programs, like Express Entry, that allow newcomers to settle in any part of Canada, the Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot (RNIP) is aimed at bringing skilled workers, and the consequent economic benefits of immigration, to smaller communities in Canada. If you’re planning to apply for permanent residence (PR) in Canada through the RNIP program, this resource provides all the information you need about the eligibility criteria and application process.
In this article:
- What is the Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot (RNIP)?
- Eligibility criteria for applying for PR under RNIP
- How to apply for permanent residence under RNIP
- Do I need a job offer to apply for RNIP?
- How long does it take to get PR under RNIP?
- Participating communities under the RNIP program
The Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot is a community-driven immigration program in Canada. The program provides skilled foreign workers an opportunity to get permanent residence to work and settle in one of the participating communities in Canada.
The RNIP was launched in November 2019 as a five-year pilot program. The government will accept up to 2,750 permanent residence applications under the pilot each year until 2024.
|Exploring other ways of applying for permanent residence in Canada?
Read our article on how to move to Canada and get PR to learn about the immigration programs Canada offers.
Since the participating communities often have specific skill and labour market requirements, individuals and families applying for immigration under the RNIP also need to meet community requirements in addition to the ones laid out by the Immigration, Refugee, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC). Some of the eligibility requirements are outlined below.
IRCC eligibility criteria for permanent residence
The IRCC requirements remain broadly the same regardless of the immigration program you choose. To qualify for PR in Canada, you must:
- Have qualifying work experience OR have completed an eligible study program from a publicly funded post-secondary institution in the recommending community
- Meet the IRCC’s educational and language requirements
- Show proof of funds to support you and your family during your first few months in Canada
- Intend to live in Canada permanently
Community-specific requirements for PR under RNIP
The community-specific requirements are set by the recommending community and will vary based on where you intend to settle. These criteria help the community determine whether you’ll be able to settle in and contribute economically to its development. Some community requirements may include:
- A valid job offer in a National Occupation Classification (NOC) code that’s in demand in the community
- Past work experience in a similar or related field
- Language proficiency beyond the minimum language requirement for a particular occupation, including, in some cases, proficiency in both English and French
- A valid driver’s licence issued in Canada or in your home country
- Family or friendship ties to the community to demonstrate your connection to the community
- Past residence in rural or remote communities
- An exploratory visit to the community
- The ability of your spouse or common-law partner to adapt and contribute to economic and social life in the community
- Knowledge of the community
- Minimum earnings parameters may sometimes be higher than the average wage for the applicable NOC to ensure you can support yourself and your family
|Note:Since the PR process is fairly long, many applicants also apply for a work permit once they receive their job offer and community recommendation. The community will often support these applications, allowing you to start working in Canada while you wait for your Confirmation of Permanent Residence (COPR).|
At present, there are eleven participating communities across five provinces under the Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot. Each community has its own eligibility criteria and process for assessing and recommending candidates for PR. The participating communities include:
|North Bay, Ontario||https://northbayrnip.ca/|
|Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario||www.welcometossm.com|
|Thunder Bay, Ontario||https://gotothunderbay.ca/|
|Vernon, British Columbia||https://rnip-vernon-northok.ca/|
|West Kootenay (Trail, Castlegar, Rossland, Nelson), British Columbia||https://wk-rnip.ca/|
|Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan||https://www.moosejawrnip.ca/|
|Want to learn more about Canada’s provinces?
Download our newcomer’s guide to Canada’s provinces and territories to learn about the geography, culture, and job market in various parts of Canada and make an informed decision about the ideal place for you to settle.
Once you receive permanent residence and get ready to move to your chosen community in Canada, the community will connect you to newcomer settlement services, such as English as a Second Language (ESL) programs, community connections and networking services, information and orientation programs, and even loan services to help you settle in your new home country.
You will need a job offer to qualify for the RNIP program. You can only submit your application for recommendation by the community after you receive a valid job offer with a community-based employer.
It can take anywhere between 12 to 18 months to get a PR through the RNIP program. Once you’ve been recommended by the community and applied for PR, you can also apply for a work permit in parallel to speed up the process of moving to Canada. In such cases, the community will generally support your work permit application.
Meet the IRCC eligibility criteria and community requirements
Before you apply for permanent residence under the Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot, you’ll need to check if you meet the IRCC eligibility criteria for PR, as well as the community specific requirements from RNIP. Check your community’s website for more information on their specific requirements.
Find full-time employment in the community
Each of the participating communities in the RNIP program has a list of in-demand jobs in the region. You’ll need to find employment in one of the listed NOCs to qualify for permanent residence under the RNIP program.
To qualify, your job offer must be:
- From an employer that does business in the community
- Full time and nonseasonal
- Permanent and without an end date
- At the same or similar skill level as your prior work experience
The community will review the duties listed on your job offer to ensure that it aligns with the NOC skill levels they are looking for.
All participating communities also have employment portals on their websites, where you can find job opportunities with employers who have completed the mandatory RNIP training and are approved by the community as an eligible employer.
|Note: If you find a full-time job in the community through another job portal or service, your employer will need to be approved by the RNIP community. In such cases, the community will work with the employer to ensure they meet all the program requirements.|
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Submit your application for recommendation to the community
Once you receive a qualifying job offer from a community-based employer, you can apply for community recommendation.
You’ll need to create a candidate profile on the community’s RNIP website and provide applicant information, details about your education, and work experience. All applicants need to complete the Schedule 1 – Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot (IMM 5911) form and upload it to their candidate profile.
In addition, your employer must complete an “Offer of Employment to a Foreign National – RNIP” form (also known as the IMM 5984) and send you a copy to include with your application. You’ll need to sign the document before uploading it to your profile.
Apply for permanent residence after receiving community recommendation
If you meet the federal and community eligibility criteria, including having a valid job offer, your candidate profile will be placed into a candidate pool for up to six months. If your application is declined during or at the end of the six month period, you can choose to re-apply.
Typically, your application will be considered for recommendation by the community’s Economic Development Organization (EDO) based on their own procedures. Many participating communities will also interview applicants who apply from outside Canada to determine if they are a good fit for the community.
Once you receive a recommendation from your community (IMM 0112), you can start the process of applying for PR. You’ll need to:
Gather essential documents
Start with the RNIP document checklist (IMM 5987) to ensure you don’t miss any of the required documents. If your application is incomplete, it will not be processed and will be returned to you.
In addition to the document checklist (IMM 5987), the Offer of Employment to a Foreign National – RNIP form (IMM 5984), Schedule 1 – Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot (IMM 5911), and Recommendation from the designated Economic Development Organization- Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot (IMM 0112), you’ll also need to submit:
- A generic application form to Canada (IMM 008) validated with 2D barcodes
- A background/declaration (IMM 5669)
- Additional dependents declaration (IMM 0008DEP) if the applicant has more than five dependents, whether they’re accompanying or not
- Additional family information (IMM 5406), completed and signed by the applicant, their spouse, and dependent children over 18 years of age
- Supplementary information about your travels (IMM 5562)
- Use of representative declaration (IMM 5476), if applicable
It’s recommended that you complete these forms digitally to avoid errors and to ensure they appear in their original form. At various stages of your application, you may need to provide supporting documents, including:
- Proof of educational background
- Proof of work experience
- Language test results for English and/or French
- Your travel documents
- Police certification
|Note: If your original documents aren’t in English or French, you’ll need to get them translated by a certified translator.|
Pay the fees online
The application fee, including the right of permanent residence fee, is around $1,350 CAD per adult. For dependent children, you’ll be charged an additional fee of $230 CAD per child. You’ll also need to pay the biometrics fee of $85 CAD per person or $170 CAD per family.
To pay the fees for your application, you’ll need a valid email address, a printer, and a credit card or debit card. Visit the IRCC website to make an online payment. Follow the instructions provided and select the relevant fees for the RNIP program, based on whether you’re applying alone or with family, and make the payment.
Once you make the payment, print two copies of the official IRCC receipt. Attach a copy to your completed PR application and keep one for your records.
|Note: While you can choose to pay for the right of permanent residence later, it’s easier to do it at this stage.|
Mail your completed application
When you complete your application, send it to IRCC by regular mail or courier. You’ll need to put the completed forms, along with the supporting documents and fee payment receipt, in a 9” x 12” envelope before mailing it. Don’t forget to mention your full name, address, and postal code on the envelope and affix sufficient postage.
Await acknowledgement of receipt and further instructions
Once the IRCC receives and reviews your application for completion, they will send you an acknowledgement of receipt via post or email. They will also provide you with your IRCC file number and instructions on next steps.
Link your application to your IRCC account
After your application has been acknowledged by IRCC, you will need to create an IRCC account. You’ll then be able to view your submitted application and link it to your IRCC account. The information you provide to IRCC must exactly match what you put on your original application. Once your application is linked to IRCC, you begin to receive secure emails in your IRCC account instead of communication via post.
|Note:If your application does not appear on IRCC after five days of receipt, contact IRCC to report a technical issue.|
Become a permanent resident of Canada
The IRCC will review your application and assess it against their selection criteria to ensure you are eligible for PR. Before you’re approved for permanent residence, you may be asked to undergo a medical test. In such cases, you’ll be provided clear instructions regarding the tests needed and authorized medical centres where you can go for the test.
Once all your information has been processed and approved, you’ll receive a Confirmation of Permanent Residence (COPR) along with instructions to get your visa to come to Canada.
A Confirmation of Permanent Residence (COPR) is not the same as permanent residence. You will only become a permanent resident after you arrive in Canada and receive your PR card.
While Canada offers several immigration programs that allow newcomers to choose where they’d like to settle, the Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot (RNIP) creates a pathway for skilled newcomers to work and live in smaller communities where their skillset is in high demand.