The Canadian government has announced a new five-year economic immigration pilot aimed at testing community-driven approaches to address the labour market needs of smaller communities in Ontario, Western Canada and Canada’s three territories by attracting and retaining skilled foreign workers.
The community-driven Rural and Northern Pilot builds on the success of the Atlantic Immigration Pilot Program (AIPP) and is designed to facilitate permanent residence for foreign workers of various skill levels in eligible communities in the provinces and territories including Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, British Columbia, Yukon, Northwest Territories and Nunavut.
Similar to the Atlantic Immigration Pilot (AIPP), the new Rural and Northern Pilot will operate along Canada’s Provincial Nominee Program (PNP).
Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) says that communities looking to participate in the Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot need to meet certain eligibility criteria like the communities can be either a city with a maximum population of 50,000 situated at least 75 kilometers from the center of a metropolitan area of 100,000 or more, or a city of a maximum of 200,000 people that qualifies as remote.
“By creating an immigration pilot aimed at rural and northern communities, we’re looking to ensure that the benefits of immigration are shared across the country,” said Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen at the launch of the new pilot on January 24.
Communities have until March 1 to apply
At present, IRCC is looking for applications from eligible communities in the identified provinces and territories that would like to participate in the pilot. IRCC says interested communities must:
- work with a local economic development organization to submit an application that demonstrates that they meet the pilot’s eligibility criteria and how immigration will promote local economic development priorities;
- show that they have job opportunities available and will be actively involved in matching immigration candidates to jobs.
IRCC states the local community and economic development organization will be responsible for recruiting and assessing applicants based on local economic needs and job openings along with recommending selected applicants for permanent residence.
Complete applications are due March 1, 2019, and the communities selected to participate in the pilot will be announced in the coming months.
Further Information on the immigration process for overseas skilled workers through the Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot will be announced later in 2019.