The Government of Canada has named 11 Canadian communities that have been chosen to participate in its new Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot Program.

The pilot program is designed to help smaller rural and remote communities attract foreign workers of various skill levels and provide them with permanent residence.

Canada’s rural communities employ over four million Canadians and account for almost 30 per cent of the national GDP.

The pilot’s goal is to help these communities counter labour market shortages caused by rising retirement rates, declining birth rates, and the out-migration of youth to more populated areas of Canada.

The 11 communities named on June 14 2019 are located in Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia.


The process for registration of 2019 has been closed, and thus the purpose of this article is to prepare candidates for the 2020 process, which is expected to start in summer of 2020.


Skilled workers

As a candidate, you need to find a job with an employer in one of the selected participating communities.

If a community recommends you and you’re successful in applying for permanent residence, you’ll then move there to work and live.


To be eligible for the Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot Program, you must meet all these requirements. You must

  • Get recommendation from a designated community economic development organization
  • Must have graduated from a publicly funded post-secondary institution in the recommending community or acquired the requisite work experience
  • Have a job offer from the community
  • At least meet the required language requirements
  • Meet the required educational requirements
  • Prove that you are able to support yourself financially as you transition into the community.
  • Have the intention of living in the community.

There are seven requirements that one need to note when applying for this pilot program, the requirements are defined below as follows;

1.  Recommendation from a designated community

You must get a recommendation from one of the communities participating in the pilot program.

They decide who to recommend based on

  • your intent to live in the community
  • your job offer in the community and the economic needs of the community
  • your work experience and skill set
  • your ties to the community

When communities are ready to begin recruiting and recommending candidates, more information will be available.

2. Work experience

You need 1 year of continuous work experience (at least 1,560 hours) in the past 3 years.

To calculate your hours of work experience

  • Count the hours worked in part-time and full-time jobs
    • the hours must be in 1 occupation, but they can be with different employers
    • the hours must be over a period of at least 12 months
    • these working hours can be inside or outside Canada
      • if you worked in Canada, you must have been a temporary resident with authorization to work in Canada
  • Don’t count hours you weren’t paid for; volunteering or unpaid internships don’t count
  • Don’t count hours when you were self-employed

Your work experience must include

  • a substantial number of the main duties and all the essential duties listed in your National Occupational Classification (NOC)
  • the activities listed in the lead statement of your NOC

3. Job offer

You must have a real job offer to work in one of the communities participating in the pilot.

The job you’re offered must meet all of these requirements

  • The job must be a full time job (this means mean you work at least 30 paid hours per week)
  • The job must not be seasonal (in general, this means you have consistent and regularly scheduled paid employment throughout the year)
  • Your employment is permanent (this means that there is no set end date)
  • The wage must meet or exceed the minimum job banks wage for the job offer’s NOC
  • Your experience must demonstrate that you can perform the duties of the job offered

3 a. Skill level

Your job offer must be at the same skill level, 1 level above or 1 level below.

However, if your experience is in NOC Skill level D, then the job you’re being 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 the same occupation

We’ll review the main duties of your job offer to confirm that it meets the NOC Skill level.

NB:International students

You’re exempt from the work experience criteria above if you’re an international student who graduated with

  1. A credential from a 2+ year-long post-secondary program and you
    1. were studying as a full-time student for the full duration of the 2+ years
    2. received the credential within 18 months before your application for permanent residence
    3. were in the community for at least 16 months of the last 24 months spent studying to obtain your credential


  2. A master’s degree or higher and you
    1. were studying as a full-time student for the duration of your degree
    2. obtained your degree within 18 months before your application
    3. were in the community for the length of your studies

You cannot apply as an international student if your credentials are from a program in which

  • studying English or French made up more than half of the program
  • distance learning made up more than half of the program
  • a scholarship or fellowship was awarded that requires you to return to your home country to apply what you learned

4. Language requirements

You 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) or
  • Niveaux de compétence linguistique canadiens (NCLC)

The minimum language requirements for each NOC category are

  • NOC 0 and A: CLB/NCLC 6
  • NOC C and D: CLB/NCLC 4

You must submit your results from a designated language test. These results must be less than 2 years old when you apply.

5: Educational requirements

You must have

  • A Canadian high school diploma or
  • An educational credential assessment (ECA) report, from a designated organization or professional body, showing that you completed a foreign credential that’s equal to Canadian secondary school (high school)
    • the ECA report must be less than 5 years old on the date of your application
    • the original ECA report must have been issued on or after the date the organization was designated

6. Settlement funds

Unless you’re already working legally in Canada when you apply, you must prove you have enough money to support yourself and any family members while you get settled in your community.

You must prove you have enough money to support any family members you may have, even if they’re not coming to Canada with you.

7. Intend to live in the community

To participate in the pilot, you must plan to live in the community.

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