More Power to Communities—Understanding Canada’s Rural & Northern Immigration Pilot Program

More Power to Communities—Understanding Canada’s Rural & Northern Immigration Pilot Program

One of the most unique features of Canada’s immigration system is that the provinces are free to create nomination programs and streams with eligibility conditions for foreign workers based on their unique needs and requirements. 

The Rural & Northern Immigration pilot program is a significant development that goes a step further and permits rural communities to setup permanent residence programs based on the present and future requirements of the community. 

For instance, an application living outside Sudbury can apply under the pilot only if he/she is

  • Working in either Mining Supply and Services or Tourism industry, and
  • His/her occupation is one of the NOC Codes included by the community in the list of eligible occupations.

 Other occupations’ workers can apply only if they are already living in Sudbury.   

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About the Rural & Northern Immigration Pilot

This is a five-year federal immigration pilot that is open to communities fulfilling one of these conditions. 


Federal Government Eligibility Requirements

Work or Study in the Community 

If you are not an international graduate from the community, then you must fulfill these conditions to be eligible. 

  • Have high-school diploma or Canadian equivalent, and 
  • One year work experience in the community in the past three years in an occupation listed in the National Occupational Classification (NOC).
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An international graduate from the community is exempt from the work-experience requirement provided you fulfill the following conditions. 

  • You were a full-time student and completed a two-year course from a publicly-funded educational institution located in the community, OR 
  • You were a full-time student and obtained a Master’s or higher degree from an educational institution located in the community.   

In both these cases, the course/degree should not have been completed more than 18 months prior to the application under the pilot program.



Application Checklist

  1. Do you fulfill the federal eligibility requirements?
  2. Identify the community in which you want to apply for permanent residence. 
  3. Do you fulfill the community’s eligibility requirements?
  4. Find an eligible job with an employer located in the community.
  5. With job offer in hand, submit an application from recommendation to the community.
  6. Apply for permanent residence after receiving the recommendation. 
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This pilot is essentially a community-driven program since you qualify for permanent residence only if you fulfill the community’s eligibility requirements AND qualify for the recommendation letter issued by the community. 

Further, work or study experience in the community is a pre-requisite for applying, which means a smart decision by somebody aspiring to study or work in Canada can result in a direct and clear path to permanent residence through this pilot program. 

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