What is the RNIP program?
The Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot is a community-driven immigration program that helps smaller communities access the benefits of economic immigration.
The program aims to offset the uneven distribution of skilled immigrants across Canada. It offers a pathway to permanent residency for skilled foreign workers willing to work and reside in one of the eleven participating communities.
As of June 2022, 1130 newcomers have arrived via this route, with an estimated 125 newcomers and family members settling into a rural community each year.
How does the Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot work?
The participating communities under the RNIP can assess and select their ideal candidates for recommendation to the IRCC. Their role under this program can be divided threefold.
- Assess potential candidates for their:
- Fit with the community’s economic needs
- A genuine employment opportunity that meets the community’s requirements
- Intention of staying on in the community
- Recommending select candidates to the IRCC for permanent residency
- Connecting newcomers with settlement services and mentoring opportunities
How many participating communities are part of the RNIP?
There are eleven participating communities in the RNIP. Below is a list of the provinces and links to their respective RNIP programs.
- North Bay, ON
- Sudbury, ON
- Timmins, ON
- Sault Ste. Marie, ON
- Thunder Bay, ON
- Brandon, MB
- Altona/Rhineland, MB
- Moose Jaw, SK
- Claresholm, AB
- Vernon, BC
- West Kootenay (Trail, Castlegar, Rossland, Nelson), BC
What are the Federal eligibility requirements for RNIP?
Candidates must meet the eligibility requirements prescribed by the IRCC and province to be considered. These requirements cover everything from the applicant’s intention to reside in the community, work experience, job offers, education, language and funds.
The applicant must
- Intend to live in the community
- Have work experience overseas or in Canada.
- At least a full year of full-time work experience in a NOC listed occupation within the last three years.
- The work experience must be from paid work and not volunteering or internships
- However, International students who graduated from a Canadian public post-secondary institution located within the community are exempted from this requirement.
- Have a job offer from an employer located within the community. Job offers received on or after November 16, 2022, must comply with the new NOC TEER system.
- The job should be full-time and non-seasonal
- The job should be for an indeterminate period
- Meet the employment requirements of the job being offered. Provinces differ in their entry requirements and how they recognize prior qualifications and licences. Requirements also vary between regulated and non-regulated professions.
- Receive a Recommendation from a participating community.
- Meet the educational requirements below:
- Have a high-school diploma, post-secondary certificate or degree equal to its Canadian equivalent.
- An Educational Credential Assessment (ECA) shows that your foreign degrees are equivalent to their Canadian counterparts.
- Meet the minimum language requirements in the CLB or NCLC.
- The minimum language proficiency score required for each NOC category are:
- TEER 0 and 1: CLB/NCLC 6
- TEER 2 and 3: CLB/NCLC 5
- TEER 4 and 5: CLB/NCLC 4
- The minimum language proficiency score required for each NOC category are:
- Meet the minimum fund requirement for immigration. For applicants after September 23, 2022, the numbers are as follows:
|Number of family members||Funds needed in CAD|
|For each additional family member||$618|
What is the application process for an RNIP program?
The steps are similar for all provinces:
- Meet the IRCC Federal Eligibility requirements
- Meet the community requirements
- Find full-time employment in the community using job sites like job bank or Indeed
- Submit your RNIP application
- Apply for Permanent Residency and a work permit once the community gives you a recommendation letter
How many RNIP programs are in Ontario?
Ontario is one of the most sought-after destinations for newcomers in Canada. The population was at 15,109,416 for the second quarter of 2022, with immigration contributing to an increase of 50,682. The province also received over 42.9% of all immigrants to Canada during this period.
Given its popularity, the province of Ontario has the highest number of communities participating in the RNIP program. These communities are North Bay, Sudbury, Timmins, Sault Ste. Marie and Thunder Bay.
Below are the assessment factors and the requirements to get a recommendation from each community.
North Bay RNIP
The North Bay RNIP selection committee prioritizes candidates for a recommendation based on the following:
- The candidate’s Language proficiency in either official language
- The candidate’s age
- Possession of a valid driver’s license from Canada or their country of residence
- Past residence and level of familiarity with rural communities.
- Candidate’s personal ties to established members of the community
- Candidate visiting for at least five nights of stay to demonstrate their intention to reside and build connections within the community
- The candidate’s work experience is related to the eligible NOC group.
- The candidate’s current employment
- The candidate’s education at a public post-secondary institution within the region.
- The candidate’s spouse or partner’s ability to contribute to the economic and social life in the community.
The Sudbury RNIP program serves the City of Greater Sudbury in Northeastern Ontario, with a population of approximately 165,000 people. The region is home to a world-class mining centre, and the RNIP program primarily caters to this industry.
Candidates are assessed and assigned points for the following criteria
|Assessment Factors||Factor points|
|Human Capital (primary applicant)|
|2||Language skills (CLB/NCLC 6 or higher)||15|
|4||Related work experience – 1 to 5 years||25|
|Related work experience- more than 5 years||50|
|5||Wage over $20 per hour||50|
|Wage over $30 per hour||100|
|6||Employment status in priority industry (Mining related)||50|
|7||Knowledge of both official languages||50|
|8||Priority occupations ( registered nurses, licensed practical nurses, nurse aids, home support workers, early childhood educators, transport truck drivers etc.)||75|
|Human capital Primary applicant subtotal||305 max|
|Human Capital (Spouse or common-law partner)|
|9||Language score – CLB 4 or NCLC 4 in all four language skills||20|
|Language score – CLB 4 or NCLC 4 in three of four language skills||15|
|10||Knowledge of both official languages||50|
|11||Spouse’s work experience||30|
|12||Spouse’s employment status||20|
|13||Spouse’s employment in a priority industry||20|
|Human Capital (Spouse) SUBTOTAL||140 max|
|Knowledge of the Community and Intention to Reside in Sudbury|
|14||Past studies in Sudbury||10|
|15||Experiential learning opportunity while studying||10|
|16||Experience living in a community with a similar climate||30|
|17||Volunteer / Community Involvement in Sudbury||25|
|18||Relatives in Sudbury||40|
|19||Previous visits to Sudbury||10|
|20||Current resident of Sudbury||50|
|21||Settlement plan provided by an employer||40|
|Knowledge of the Community and Intention to Reside SUBTOTAL||205 max|
The minimum cut-off to be considered for a recommendation is 95 points for applicants applying with a spouse and 75 points without a spouse.
The community criteria for the Timmins RNIP program can be found on their website.
The Maximum points available for a principal applicant is 200 points, with another 50 points for their spouse or common-law partners. Applicants need a score of 60 points or more to be considered for recommendation.
RNIP Sault Ste Marie
The community requirements and assessment factors for Sault Ste Marie’s RNIP are given below:
|1||Job offer in a priority NOC group||55|
|3||Work experience in priority NOC group||2-10|
|4||Studied in a post-secondary institution in Sault Ste. Marie||3-6|
|5||The applicant is already residing in the community||4-8|
|6||The applicant has personal ties to community members||5-10|
|7||The applicant has previously visited and met at least two employers in their line of work||8|
|8||The applicant has knowledge and interest in recreational, cultural or lifestyle activities in Sault Ste. Marie||5|
|9||The spouse or common-law partner has a valid job offer or work experience in a priority NOC group||5-10|
|10||Spouse or common-law partner has CLB/NCLC 5 or higher in all categories||5|
Applicants will need a score of 70 or more to be considered for a recommendation from the community.
RNIP Thunder Bay
The Thunder Bay Community Economic Development Commission (CEDC) recommends skilled foreign workers for permanent residence in the Thunder Bay region. The program uses a point-based system to select candidates for recommendation. The maximum achievable points for each criterion are as follows:
|Assessment factors||Maximum points|
|1||Offer of Employment||20|
|5||Experience living in a small or rural community||16|
|8||Spouse’s Language skills||2|
|9||Spouse’s Skills Alignment||2|
The data for the RNIP Thunder Bay candidate selection draws for August 16, 2022, show that at least 40 candidates with scores as low as 48% were selected for recommendation.
What happens if you get a recommendation from the community?
Once you get a recommendation from any of these communities in Ontario, you are cleared to apply for permanent residency. This must be done online by Signing in or creating a Permanent residence online application portal account.
How much does an application for a Permanent Residency cost?
|Fees in CAD|
|Application (Processing fee $850, right of permanent residence fee $515)||$1,365|
|Including spouse or partner||$1365|
|Including Dependent child||$230 per child|
The Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot program is a viable route to permanent residency if you don’t mind the more remote nature of these smaller communities. This article specifically deals with the five communities from Ontario, their requirements and how they grade eligible candidates before handing out recommendations to the IRCC for permanent residency.