January 24, 2019

The Government of Canada’s Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has introduced a new a five-year “Rural and Northern Immigration” Pilot Program to help smaller communities in Canada (Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, Northwest Territories, Nunavut, Ontario, Saskatchewan, and Yukon) promote economic immigration needs. The program will welcome Foreign Nationals of various skill levels to obtain permanent residence in rural communities of Canada and assist in their local labour market needs; and, also provide additional immigration opportunities for Foreign Workers with less skill level. This program is part of the economic immigration initiatives of the Government of Canada, which also includes the Atlantic Immigration Pilot Program (AIPP) introduced in 2017.

Currently, the Rural and Northern Immigration program is accepting applications from interested communities. In order to be eligible, communities are required to obtain support from a local economic development organization by way of a local municipal leader, or a local or a regional immigrant-serving organization. In addition, communities must have less than 50,000 people and located 75km away from a core Metropolitan city, or, up to 200,000 people, but located in a city of remoteness, per Statistics Canada. There are other core requirements for communities, including an availability of job opportunities, have in place an economic development plan, support of a local economic development organization to manage the pilot, and ability to settle incoming immigrants in the community. French-speaking communities are encouraged to apply.  Only a small number of communities will be accepted into the pilot, so applications are not guaranteed to be accepted.

Applications must be made by the community-based development organization that will manage the pilot program, either online or by mail. Communities are expected to work with employers and stake-holders to attract and integrate new immigrants, with the help of the Government of Canada. March 1, 2019 is the deadline for communities to apply.

Communities will be chosen based on the need to attract new immigrants for economic needs, availability of resources to support the program, ability to attract French-speaking newcomers, and whether the Federal Government already has newcomer settlement programs in the community. IRCC will also consult with the provinces and territories and work with provincial nominee programs prior to making a decision. Once a community is selected, the economic development organization will work with the IRCC to prepare the community for the pilot program and to assist in receiving applications from foreign nationals.

Information regarding applications for permanent residency will be available in late 2019.