Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot

Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot

The government of Canada has unveiled a new 5-year experimental economic immigration pilot. It will help rural and northern communities in Ontario, Western Canada, and three territories attract and retain high-skilled foreign workers.

The Rural and Northern Pilot will function on the principle of the Atlantic Immigration Pilot (AIPP) launched in 2017 and will allow foreign workers with various skill levels to get permanent residence in small communities in the following provinces and territories:

  • Alberta
  • British Columbia
  • Manitoba
  • Ontario
  • Saskatchewan
  • Northwest Territories
  • Nunavut
  • Yukon

Besides participation in the Rural and Northern Pilot, each of the above-mentioned provinces has its own Provincial Nominee Program

Eligible Communities

As of the summer of 2019, 11 rural and northern Canadian communities are participating in the Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot program.

  • North Bay, ON
  • Sudbury, ON
  • Timmins, ON
  • Sault St. Marie, ON
  • Thunder Bay, ON
  • Brandon, MB
  • Rhineland/Altona, MB
  • Moose Jaw, SK
  • Claresholm, AB
  • Vernon, BC
  • West Kootenay (Trail, Castlegar, Rossland, Nelson), BC

A government statement said that in addition to the provincial communities selected for participation in the pilot, the government also works with Canadian territories. It is logical to assume that the list of participating communities will be supplemented.

The Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot is a community-driven program, therefore participating communities will be responsible for selecting candidates for immigration and approval for their permanent residence.

Candidates’ Eligibility Criteria

In order to be eligible for the Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot Program, a candidate must meet the following requirements.

Recommendation From a Designated Community

The candidate should get a recommendation from one of the abovementioned communities.

Communities decide independently who to recommend based on:

  • candidate’s intention to live in a community;
  • job offer in the community and the economic needs of the community;
  • work experience and skills of the candidate;
  • candidate’s ties to the community.

More information will be available when communities are ready to begin recommending candidates.

Work Experience

The candidate must have at least 1 year of continuous work experience (at least 1,560 hours) over the past 3 years.

Work experience can be gained inside or outside Canada (if the candidate worked in Canada, they must have been a temporary resident with authorization to work in Canada).

Work experience must be in one occupation, but can be with different employers.

To calculate the number of hours of your work experience, count the hours worked in part-time and full-time jobs.

Self-employment, unpaid work and internships, as well as volunteer work, are not taken into account.

Job Offer

The candidate must have a genuine job offer in order to work in one of the participating communities.

The proposed job must meet the following requirements:

  • The job must be full time (at least 30 paid hours per week).
  • The job must be non-seasonal (permanent and regularly scheduled paid employment throughout the year).
  • Employment is permanent (there is no set end date).
  • The wage must meet or exceed the Job Bank’s minimum wage for your job offer’s NOC.
  • Candidate’s experience must demonstrate that they can perform the duties of the job offered.

Skill level

A job offer must be at the same skill level, 1 level above or 1 level below the NOC that applies to the candidate’s work experience. However, if the candidate’s experience is in NOC skill level D, then the job offered must be in the same occupation.

For example:

  • NOC 0 job offer – work experience in NOC 0 or A
  • NOC A job offer – work experience in NOC 0, A or B
  • NOC B job offer – work experience in NOC A, B or C
  • NOC C job offer – work experience in NOC B or C
  • NOC D job offer – work experience in NOC D

International Students

A candidate is exempted from the above requirements for work experience if he/she is an international student, and:

  • Graduated with a credential from a 2+ year-long full-time post-secondary program. Credential means a degree, diploma, certificate or trade or apprenticeship from a Canadian publicly funded institution in the recommending community.
  • Received the credential within 18 months before applying.
  • Were in the community for at least 16 months of the last 24 months spent studying.


  • Received a master’s degree or higher within 18 months before applying.
  • Were studying as a full-time student throughout the entire period of study.
  • Were in the community for the length of the studies.

Language requirements

Candidate must meet the minimum language requirements based on the NOC category that applies to the job offer in the community. This can either be the Canadian Language Benchmarks (CLB) for English or Niveaux de compétence linguistique canadiens (NCLC) for French.

The minimum language requirements for each NOC category are:

  • NOC 0 and A – CLB/NCLC 6
  • NOC B –  CLB/NCLC 5
  • NOC C and D –  CLB/NCLC 4

Candidate must pass the designated language test (IELTS, TEF, TCF) and submit the results. These results must be less than 2 years old when they apply.

Educational Requirements

Candidate must have at least:

  • A Canadian high school diploma


  • A foreign high school diploma and an Educational Credential Assessment (ECA) report from a designated organization or professional body, showing that the foreign credential is equal to the Canadian one. The ECA report must be less than 5 years old on the date of the application.

Proof of funds

If a candidate does not legally work in Canada at the time of applying, they must prove that they have enough money to support themselves and any family members while getting settled in the community.

The candidate must prove that he/she has enough money to support all family members, even if they’re not coming to Canada with him/her.

Number of family members
(including those you support who aren’t immigrating with you)
Funds you need
(in Canadian dollars)
1 $8,722
2 $10,858
3 $13,348
4 $16,206
5 $18,380
6 $20,731
7 or more $23,080

Intention to live in a community

To participate in the Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot, the candidate must plan to live in the recommending community.

How To Apply

Step-by-step immigration through the Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot will look like this:

  1. Community and/or employer approaches with a potential candidate, OR the potential candidate is associated with the community and/or employer.
  2. Candidate submits an application for endorsement.
  3. Community reviews the applications and selects the best-fit candidates.
  4. Community endorses candidate, which gives them the right to apply to submit the Permanent Residence application to IRCC.
  5. Candidate submits the Permanent Residence application to IRCC
  6. Candidate is assessed according to federal selection criteria and admissibility requirements.
  7. Candidate obtains permanent residence in Canada.
  8. Candidate and his family members arrive in the community, which provides services to support
    their settlement and integration.