Canada's Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot

Canada's Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot

Canada’s Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot (RNIP) is a program designed to encourage immigrants to settle in smaller communities and rural areas across Canada. It is an economic immigration program that helps employers in these areas to fill job vacancies by connecting them with skilled foreign workers who are interested in living and working in rural communities.

The RNIP was launched in 2019 and is currently available in 11 participating communities across Canada. The communities participating in the program have been selected based on their ability to support newcomers and provide them with the necessary settlement services, such as housing, health care, and language training.

To be eligible for the RNIP, candidates must have a valid job offer from an employer in one of the participating communities. They must also meet the minimum requirements for language proficiency, education, and work experience, as well as pass a medical exam and security clearance.

Once accepted into the program, candidates are provided with a community-specific guide that outlines the resources and services available in the community. They are also given access to settlement services and support to help them integrate into their new community.

The RNIP is an important initiative for Canada’s smaller communities, as it helps to address the demographic and economic challenges faced by these areas. It also provides new opportunities for skilled workers to immigrate to Canada and contribute to the country’s economic growth and development.


The following 11 communities are participating in the pilot: 

To be considered eligible to participate in the pilot, the community must:

  • have a population of 50,000 people or less and be located at least 75 km from the core of a Census Metropolitan Area OR up to 200,000 people and be considered remote from other larger cities (using Statistics Canada’s index of remoteness)
  • be located in Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, Northwest Territories, Nunavut, Ontario, Saskatchewan and Yukon; 
  • have job opportunities;
  • have an economic development plan;
  • have a local economic development organization that can manage the pilot for your community;
  • have the capacity to settle new immigrants in the community by having or developing:
    • relationships with local or regional immigrant-serving organizations;
    • opportunities to connect newcomers with established members of the community, such as through mentoring or networking;
    • access to key services like education, housing, transportation, and health care.

In order to be considered for the RNIP, potential candidates must meet the following federal criteria as well as requirements established by the participating community where they are hoping to settle.

The federal criteria are:

  • Have a recommendation from one of the designated communities
  • Have one year of continuous work experience in the past three years (a minimum of 1,560 hours)
  • Have graduated from a publicly funded post-secondary institution in the recommending community
  • Have a genuine job offer to work in one of the designated communities
  • Meet the language threshold for the NOC skill type/level of the job being offered
  • Have sufficient funds to settle and support themselves and their family in the community
  • Have an intention to live in the community

Community Recommendation

A community recommendation is based on the candidate’s:

  • intention to live in the designated community
  • job offer and the community’s economic needs
  • work experience and skills
  • ties to the community

Recommendations are made by a designated community economic development organization.

Work Experience

Eligible candidates must have:

  • a minimum of 1,560 hours (one year) of paid work experience in the past three years;
    • the work experience must be in one occupation but can be with different employers
    • the work experience can be obtained in Canada or outside Canada
    • the work experience can be accumulated during the 3 years preceding the application, regardless of breaks in employment
    • Self-employed work experience is not eligible

Candidates must have performed the majority of the main duties and all the essential duties listed in the National Occupational Classification (NOC) for their profession as well as the activities listed in the lead statement.

Please note that international students may be exempt from the work experience criteria if they are recent graduates: 

  • from a full-time post-secondary program of a least 2 years, or
  • from a full-time master’s program or higher.


Candidates must have:

  • A Canadian high school diploma or the foreign equivalent;
    • Diplomas obtained outside Canada must have their equivalency confirmed by an Educational Credential Assessment (ECA) report from a designated organization.
    • The ECA report must be less than five years old at the time of application

Individuals who have graduated from a post-secondary program in the community that is recommending them are exempt from the work experience requirement if they graduated with:

  • a degree, diploma, certificate or trade or apprenticeship from a post-secondary program of 2 years or more and:
    1. were a full-time student for the entirety of the 2+ years
    2. obtained the credential within 18 months before the application for permanent residence
    3. were in the community for at least 16 months of the last 24 months of study


  • a master’s degree or a PhD and:
    1. were a full-time student for the entirety of the degree
    2. obtained the credential within 18 months before the application for permanent residence
    3. were in the community for the entirety of the degree

Individuals who cannot apply as international students include those who:

  • studied at distance for more than half the program
  • studied English or French for more than half the program
  • received a scholarship or fellowship that requires they return to their home country to apply their studies

Job Offer

Potential candidates must have a genuine, full-time, permanent, job offer in one of the participating communities. The wage must meet the minimum wage listed for that NOC in the Canada Job Bank and the candidates’ previous experience must demonstrate that they can perform the duties of the job offered.

The Government of Canada defines a genuine job offer as one that:

  • must meet the needs of the employer
  • the employer must actively be in the business for which the offer has been made
  • the employer must be able to fulfill the terms of the offer
  • the employer must have complied with all employment laws and rules in the past

Additionally, the job offer must be of the TEER category or one skill level above or below the NOC that best applies to the candidate’s work experience. Candidates whose NOC TEER category 5, however, must have a job offer in the same occupation.

Language Requirements

The minimum language requirement is based on the NOC TEER category that applies to the candidate’s job offer.

The minimum requirements for each NOC TEER category are as follows. “CLB” stands for Canadian Language Benchmark.

  • NOC TEER category 0 and 1: Minimum language score of a CLB 6 is required
  • NOC TEER category 2 and 3: Minimum language score of a CLB 5 is required
  • NOC TEER category 4 and 5: Minimum language score of a CLB 4 is required


Candidates must demonstrate that they have sufficient funds to support themselves and their families after they move to Canada. These funds must be their own and cannot be borrowed from anyone.

The following documents can be used as proof of funds:

  • bank account statements
  • documents that show real property or other investments (such as stocks, bonds, debentures, treasury bills, etc.)
  • documents that guarantee payment of a set amount of money payable to you (such as banker’s drafts, cheques, traveller’s cheques or money orders)
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