The city of Brandon, Manitoba, is the latest Canadian community to launch its local component of the Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot.
Manitoba’s second-largest city is the third community to begin accepting applications through the five-year pilot, joining the Ontario city of Sault Ste. Marie and fellow Manitoba community, Altona/Rhineland.
The Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot (RNIP) is designed to match foreign workers with employers facing labour shortages in 11 communities selected for their size, location, job opportunities and ability to help newcomers settle.
An eligible offer of full-time, permanent employment in one of the participating communities is required and only those candidates who receive a Community Recommendation through the RNIP can apply for Canadian permanent residence.
As many as 2,750 principal applicants plus their families could be approved for permanent residence through the RNIP annually.
The 11 communities participating in the pilot are:
- North Bay, Ontario
- Sudbury, Ontario
- Timmins, Ontario
- Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario
- Thunder Bay, Ontario
- Brandon, Manitoba
- Altona/Rhineland, Manitoba
- Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan
- Claresholm, Alberta
- Vernon, British Columbia
- West Kootenay (Trail, Castlegar, Rossland, Nelson), British Columbia
The RNIP is community-driven, meaning the participating communities take the lead in attracting new immigrants or temporary foreign workers already in Canada and matching them with local job vacancies.
Brandon has a quota of 100 Community Recommendations for the pilot’s first year.
Sandy Trudel, the city’s director of economic development, said the pilot’s “greatest strength” is the fact “it has been tailored to the community’s true labour needs and provides those from other countries and their families a quicker, more focused path for obtaining permanent residence in Canada.”
Trudel said Brandon’s support network for newcomers positions the city “to better connect with skilled professionals who display the motivation and willingness to settle in Brandon and make our community their long-term home.”
The matching process varies from community to community. In Brandon’s case, interested candidates first create a user profile and then apply for eligible jobs listed on the city’s dedicated RNIP website.
The list currently includes openings for a drafting technician, master dental technician and several jobs related in the meat-processing industry.
Applications are reviewed by Brandon’s Economic Development Corporation and those that meet minimum requirements for skills, education and work experience are forwarded to the employer in question.
Candidates are then screened by the employer and those who pass this process receive a qualifying full-time, permanent job offer. Candidates with a job offer can then apply for a Community Recommendation from Brandon.
Top-ranked applications for a Community Recommendation are reviewed on a monthly basis and are either approved, put on hold or declined. Those put on hold will remain under consideration for up to six months.
Only those RNIP candidates who are approved for a Community Recommendation can apply to the Government of Canada for permanent residence.
Trudel said the entire process could take as little as seven months.
“Our measure of success won’t be simply pushing through 100 Community Recommendations in the first year,” Trudel said. “Rather it will be finding the right skilled professionals who are the right fit for our small Prairie Canadian city.”
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