Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot (RNIP) Program: Assessing the application against selection criteria
This section contains policy, procedures and guidance used by IRCC staff. It is posted on the department’s website as a courtesy to stakeholders.
Applicants should be assessed against the pass and fail selection criteria below, based on the information and documents provided in the application. Applicants must meet all of the following criteria to be approved.
Update due to COVID-19
As a temporary measure, the designated economic development organization is now able to digitally sign the recommendation form [IMM 0112]. The applicant can include either a copy of the recommendation form with a handwritten signature or a copy of the electronically signed recommendation form with their application.
All other document requirements must be met unless exempted under the COVID-19 special measures.
A public policy concerning the work experience eligibility requirement has been established for the Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot (RNIP). Due to widespread work interruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, applicants under the RNIP Program are now exempt from the requirement to accumulate work experience over a continuous period.
Applicants can now accumulate qualifying work experience of at least 1 year of full-time work (or an equal amount in part-time) within the last 3 years, whether that work experience is continuous or not.
All other work experience and eligibility criteria must be met.
To learn more, please consult the public policy page.
On this page
- Confirmation of community recommendation
- Official language proficiency
- Qualifying work experience
- Employment requirements
- Settlement funds
- Intent to reside in the community
- Valid temporary status for applications within Canada
Confirmation of community recommendation
The designated economic development organizations of the participating communities can only recommend individuals in support of applications for permanent residence made under the Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot
A community recommendation [IMM 0112] is issued by the designated economic development organization of the participating community to persons who have been recommended. Applicants must submit a copy of this completed and approved form with their permanent residence application.
Part of the completeness check includes verifying that the applicant who is applying for permanent residence under the Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot (RNIP) Program is listed on the encrypted monthly community recommendation spreadsheet that the department receives electronically from the designated economic development organizations of the participating communities.
The community recommendation [IMM 0112] is considered valid for a period of 6 months, beginning on the day on which it is issued, unless the economic development organization revokes the community recommendation  or the economic development organization is removed from the schedule, in which case the recommendation is invalid beginning on the day of revocation or removal. The applicant must submit a complete application for permanent residence on or before the expiry date of the recommendation. This is verified in the completeness check upon receipt of the RNIP application.
Note: Officers must ensure that the National Occupational Classification (NOC) and North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) fields of the applicant’s job offer have been entered in the Global Case Management System (GCMS) prior to inserting the “pass or fail” assessment of the community recommendation application.
Note: IRCC is responsible for assessing the selection criteria and determining if the applicant meets all requirements of the program. Communities will perform assessments of the applicants; however, officers must be satisfied that applicants meet the selection criteria. Officers should not presume that a community recommendation means that an applicant meets all the requirements of the program.
Applicants must demonstrate they have the following:
- a Canadian secondary (high school) or post-secondary certificate, diploma or degree,
- The degree, diploma or certificate must have been granted by an educational or training institution that is recognized by the provincial authorities responsible for registering, accrediting, supervising and regulating such institutions. Refer to the Canadian Information Centre for International Credentials (CICIC) website to verify whether a school is recognized.
- a completed foreign educational credential, and
- an Educational Credential Assessment (ECA) report from a designated organization approved by IRCC, which must
- show that the foreign education is equal to a completed Canadian secondary (high school) or post-secondary certificate, diploma or degree and
- be less than 5 years old at the time of the application
Note: ECAs include an assessment by the designated organization of the authenticity of the applicant’s completed foreign educational credentials. The assessment outcome stated in the ECA report is the evidence IRCC uses to indicate that an applicant’s completed foreign educational credentials are equivalent to at least a completed Canadian secondary school educational credential.
If an officer has concerns about the authenticity of an applicant’s foreign educational credentials, they should notify the Immigration Program Guidance Branch (IPG), which will consult with the appropriate ECA designated organization for further instruction. Should the authenticity of an applicant’s foreign educational credentials still be a concern after consultation, the officer will send a procedural fairness letter to the applicant, explaining the concerns, and allow the applicant to respond to those concerns through correspondence, documentation and/or an interview.
For additional guidance on misrepresentation, processing offices should consult the misrepresentation section of chapter ENF 2.
The procedures for determining misrepresentation or any other inadmissibility, including procedural fairness, remain the same under the RNIP.
Note: An officer may refer to the CICIC website to verify whether a school located in Canada is an educational or training institution that is recognized by the provincial authorities responsible for registering, accrediting, supervising and regulating such institutions.
Official language proficiency
The applicant must provide an original language test approved by IRCC that:
- shows the applicant meets the minimum language level for the NOC of the applicant’s job offer:
- at skill level NOC C or NOC D, 4 in the Canadian Language Benchmarks in English or the Niveaux de compétence linguistique canadiens in French for each of the 4 language skill areas
- at skill level NOC B, 5 in the Canadian Language Benchmarks in English or the Niveaux de compétence linguistique canadiens in French for each of the 4 language skill areas
- at skill type NOC 0 or skill level NOC A, 6 in the Canadian Language Benchmarks in English or the Niveaux de compétence linguistique canadiens in French for each of the 4 language skill areas
- is less than two years old on the date of application
See the language requirements section for information on evidence of language proficiency.
Qualifying work experience
Due to the new COVID-19 update, applicants no longer have to meet the “continuous” requirement for qualifying work experience. All other work experience criteria listed below must be met. To learn more, please consult the public policy page.
Applicants must demonstrate that they have obtained work experience
- for at least 1 year of full-time work (1,560 hours total at 30 hours per week), or an equal amount in part-time work, within the last 3 years preceding the date the application is made
- that was for paid work (volunteer work and unpaid internships do not count)
- for 1 or more occupations at skill type 0 or skill level A, B, C or D of the NOC; work experience accumulated under more than 1 occupation must meet the skill level requirement for the occupation (NOC) provided in the offer of employment (for NOC D, the candidate must accumulate work experience in the same 4-digit occupation)
- where they carried out the activities listed in the lead statement of the NOC and a substantial number of the main duties
- duties that begin with “may” in the NOC description are not usually considered essential duties
- that was obtained overseas or in Canada
Note: Canadian experience must have been obtained while the foreign national was authorized to work in Canada and had temporary resident status.
Applicants do not have to be employed at the time they apply.
Any periods of self-employment will not be included when calculating the period of qualifying work experience.
Work experience acquired during a period of study is allowed, as long as it did not exceed the work hours authorized under the study permit.
Work experience exemption
International students are exempt from the work experience criteria if they obtained an eligible credential, as defined in subsection 3(4) of the Ministerial Instructions with respect to the Rural and Northern Community Immigration Class, from a publicly funded post-secondary institution in the community, provided that either of the following occurred:
- any post-secondary program lasting 2 -years or longer–they were enrolled as a full-time student during the entire 2-year or longer post-secondary program, and both of the following apply:
- the program was completed within 18 months prior to the application for permanent residence to IRCC
- they were physically present in the rural or northern community for at least 16 months during the 24 months immediately prior to obtaining the eligible credential
Note: The completion of 2 1-year programs does not meet the requirements of the work experience exemption
- master’s or doctoral degree program lasting less than 2 years–they were enrolled as a full-time student for the duration of the program and both of the following apply:
- the program was completed within 18 months prior to the application for permanent residence to IRCC
- they were physically present in the rural or northern community for the entire period of their studies
Credentials not eligible for the exemption
Any full-time program of study or training where
- the study of English or French as a second language amounted to more than half of the credits required to complete the program
- distance learning amounted to more than half of the program
- a scholarship or fellowship was awarded that requires the applicant to return to their home country to apply their knowledge and skills
Applicants must demonstrate that they meet the relevant employment requirements of the job they are being offered. Relevant employment requirements may include education, training or other qualifications listed in the NOC description, with the exception of Canadian licensing requirements in the case of regulated occupations.
Job offer requirements
Applicants must demonstrate that they have obtained a job offer and submit an Offer of Employment to a Foreign National—Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot form [IMM 5984] (PDF, 1.55 MB) that is:
- genuine, as determined under subsection 200(5) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations (IRPR)
- from an employer whose workplace is located within the boundaries of the community
- for full-time, non-seasonal (year-round), and indeterminate (no end date) employment
- located in the community
- at a wage that is above or within the range of wages for that particular occupation in the Job Bank of the Canada Employment Insurance Commission
- Generally, in the absence of a regional rate, the employer should offer the provincial rate. In the absence of a provincial rate, the employer should offer the national rate.
- for an occupation at skill type 0 or skill level A, B, C or D of the NOC:
- at skill type NOC 0, the job offer must be in the same NOC skill type or one NOC skill level below their work experience
- at skill levels NOC A and B, the job offer must be in the same NOC skill level or one NOC skill level above or below their work experience
- at skill level NOC C, the job offer must be in the same NOC skill level or one NOC skill level above their work experience
- at skill level NOC D, the job offer must be in the same skill level NOC and the same occupation as the work experience
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Note: Applicants must demonstrate that they are able to perform and are likely to accept and carry out the employment and that they meet the relevant employment requirements of the occupation as set out in the NOC. Failure to do so may result in a refusal.
Note: While officers can account for work performed outside the community boundaries, the employment should generally be located within the community. Each application is considered on its own merits with a final decision based on a review of all the information available to the officer at the time of the decision.
If an applicant is not already working in Canada, they must demonstrate that they have sufficient funds available for settlement in Canada at the time of application and when the application is finalized. The funds must be all of the following:
- available and transferable
- unencumbered by debts or other obligations
- sufficient to support the initial establishment in Canada
Sufficient funds are determined according to the applicant’s family size (including both accompanying and non-accompanying dependants). The funds must be 50% of the current low income cut-offs for rural areas outside census metropolitan areas and census agglomerations.
Officers may wish to request additional information and documentation from applicants to demonstrate and support their ability to become economically established. If the applicant is unable to demonstrate that they have sufficient funds to meet the requirements, officers are to refuse the application.
Note: If the applicant has been living and working in Canada under a valid work permit, they are not required to provide evidence of funds.
Intent to reside in the community
IRCC must be satisfied that the applicant intends to reside in the participating community or within a reasonable commuting distance of the participating community before issuing the permanent resident visa.
When seeking permanent resident status, whether at a local IRCC office in Canada or at a port of entry, applicants must establish that they still intend to reside in the community that has recommended them. For more information, see Examination before granting permanent residence under the RNIP Program.
Valid temporary status for applications within Canada
If a foreign national is in Canada at the time of their permanent resident visa application, they must have a valid temporary resident status.
Processing offices must follow procedural fairness guidelines if they are not satisfied that an RNIP applicant meets the criteria to become a member of the RNIP Program. In such cases, the office must inform the applicant of their concerns, and the applicant must have the opportunity to respond and provide additional information in support of their application.
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