Public Policy on Work Experience Eligibility Requirement for the Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot


Widespread work interruptions resulting from COVID-19 have highlighted an unintended obstacle for candidates to the Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot (“the pilot”) within the program’s work experience eligibility requirement. The requirement stipulates that to participate in the pilot a candidate must have a year of work experience (at least 1,560 hours) obtained over a continuous period (i.e., without interruption) within the last 3 years prior to application. This requirement was intended to ensure that candidates for the pilot have demonstrated labour market attachment in the past as an indicator of their ability to economically establish in Canada. However, it negatively impacts the eligibility of clients who have had reasonable breaks in employment due to family responsibilities, periods of study or COVID-19 work interruption, for example. In the context of the pandemic, this means that workers who had been accumulating their work experience and were laid off temporarily would need to restart the accumulation of work experience from zero once they return to work, postponing their application submission by a minimum of one year.

Given the time-limited nature of the pilot in its host communities, this will mean that certain applicants will be ineligible despite having a year of work experience (with interruptions), a full-time permanent job offer and the support of a community partner, and despite meeting all other program requirements. Community partners have taken steps to identify candidates for their communities that have a skill set needed in the community, connection to the community, and are filling identified labour market needs.

Public Policy Considerations:

To continue leveraging the pilot to address local labour shortages and support the Government of Canada’s objective to ensure economic resilience as part of its action on COVID-19, this public policy will allow candidates to meet the work experience requirement where they have accumulated one full year of work experience in the three years preceding their application for permanent residence, regardless of whether this work experience was continuous or not. It will also further leverage the local expertise of program partners in identifying candidates who are a strong fit for their labour and economic development needs.

Therefore, I hereby establish that there are public policy considerations that justify the granting, in accordance with section 25.2 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, exemptions from the below specified requirement of Ministerial Instructions 33 (MI33) that establishes the Pilot, established under section 14.1 of the Act, to foreign nationals who meet the conditions set out below.

Conditions/Eligibility Requirements:

Based on public policy considerations, when processing an application for permanent residence under the pilot, delegated officers may grant an exemption from the below identified requirement of Ministerial Instruction 33 if a foreign national has:

Requirement of the Ministerial Instructions 33 (MI33) for which an exemption may be granted

Other applicable admissibility and selection criteria

Foreign nationals eligible under this public policy are subject to all other legislative admissibility and eligibility requirements not exempted under this public policy.

Effective date and expiration

This public policy takes effect on the day on which it is signed.

This public policy applies to all applications received under the Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot where no final decision on the application was rendered as well as to future applications, and remains in effect until it is revoked by the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship.

Marco Mendicino
Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship

Dated at Ottawa, 2020-11-06, 2020

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