The Government of Canada has unveiled a new five-year economic immigration pilot that will help rural and northern communities in Ontario, Western Canada and Canada’s three territories attract and retain skilled foreign workers.

The community-driven Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot builds on the Atlantic Immigration Pilot Programme launched in 2017 and will facilitate permanent residence for foreign workers of various skill levels ineligible communities in the following provinces and territories:

Ontario, Manitoba Saskatchewan, Alberta, British Columbia, Yukon, Northwest Territories, Nunavut

Like the Atlantic Immigration Pilot (AIPP), the new Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot will operate alongside Canada’s Provincial Nominee Program.

 AIPP works with businesses in the Atlantic Canada provinces of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland and Labrador to hire foreign workers for positions they haven’t been able to fill locally.

In 2018, the AIPP allowed the four participating provinces to endorse up 2,500 foreign workers and international students for permanent residence. IRCC did not specify a quota for the new pilot.

At the launch of the new pilot, Canada’s Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, Ahmed Hessen, said “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,”.

Bernadette Jordan, Minister of Rural Economic Development Canada said the pilot’s community-driven approach is essential.

IRCC is currently seeking applications from eligible communities in the identified provinces and territories that would like to participate in the pilot.

According to IRCC, interested communities must work with a local economic development organization to submit an application that shows they meet the pilot’s eligibility criteria and how immigration will promote local economic development priorities.

Among other criteria, communities selected to participate in the Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot will have to demonstrate that they have job opportunities available and will be actively involved in matching immigration candidates to jobs.

IRCC says the local community and economic development the organization will be responsible for recruiting and assessing immigration candidates based on local economic needs and job openings, and recommending selected candidates for permanent residence.

Complete applications are due March 1, 2019, and the communities selected to participate in the pilot will be unveiled in the spring. 

Information on the immigration process for foreign workers through the Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot will be announced later in 2019.

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