International Mobility Program: Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot (RNIP) – Employer-specific work permits (exemption code C15)

This section contains policy, procedures and guidance used by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada staff. It is posted on the Department’s website as a courtesy to stakeholders.

Special measures are currently in effect due to the disruption of services associated with impacts of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).

The Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot (RNIP) is a federal program established by Ministerial Instructions, effective November 1, 2019. The goal of this pilot is to attract and retain skilled immigrants in rural and northern communities by testing innovative approaches to permanent immigration.

Facilitating entry for these workers under the International Mobility Program supports paragraph 3(1)(e) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA) by encouraging the settlement and retention of workers in rural and northern communities.

Update due to COVID-19

In addition to the program delivery instructions below, in lieu of the Acknowledgement of Receipt (AoR) letter, officers are to verify the following:

  • Monthly community recommendation spreadsheet: Verify that the applicant was issued a valid community recommendation [IMM 0112] by one of the participating communities.
  • Proof that they submitted a PR application. If no formal proof can be provided, this may be in the form of either of the following:
    • a courier receipt
    • a letter indicating the date the PR application was submitted
  • Proof of payment of permanent residence fees: Copy of payment receipt.

All other document requirements must be met unless exempted under the COVID-19 special measures.

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Eligibility for a temporary work permit

Foreign nationals who have submitted a complete application for permanent residence under the RNIP Program and received an acknowledgement of receipt may apply online for a 1-year employer-specific Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA)-exempt work permit, under paragraph 205(a) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations (IRPR).

To apply for a 1-year employer-specific work permit under the RNIP program, foreign nationals must submit a work permit application online. Foreign nationals applying for a work permit under the RNIP are not eligible to apply at a port of entry.

Applications must include the following:

Applicants must provide an offer of employment:

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.

Required documents

Recommendation form

A recommendation form (IMM 0112: Recommendation from the designated Economic Development Organization – Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot) is issued by the economic development organization in the participating community to persons who have been recommended. Applicants under the RNIP must include the IMM 0112 form with their work permit application.

The community recommendation form is considered valid as long as the applicant submits 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. Since the foreign national may only apply for a work permit after receiving their acknowledgement of receipt, the recommendation form may be expired when submitted with the work permit application.

Note: Officers are 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 recommendation means that an applicant meets all the requirements of the program.


Applicants must demonstrate they have the following:

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 conclusive evidence 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 write 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, including procedural fairness, remain the same under the RNIP.

Note: An officer may refer to the Canadian Information Centre for International Credentials (CICIC) website to verify whether a school 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 a copy of a language test approved by IRCC that is:

If the job offer is in… The language results must be at a minimum level of…
NOC 0 or 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
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
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

Qualifying work experience

Applicants must demonstrate that they have obtained work experience of at least 1 year of continuous, 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

Applicants do not have to be employed at the time they apply.

The period of 12 months of required employment cannot include any extended breaks in employment, periods of unemployment, or prolonged sick leave or parental leave. However, a reasonable period of vacation time will be counted towards meeting the work experience requirement (for example, a 2-week period of paid vacation leave within a given 52-week period in which the applicant was engaged in qualifying work).

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 does not exceed the work hours authorized under section R186.

International graduates

International students who have graduated from a Canadian post-secondary institution in a participating RNIP community may be exempt from the work experience requirements if

Work permit duration

Officers may issue an employer-specific LMIA-exempt work permit that is valid for 1 year from the date of entry to Canada or until the expiry of the travel document, whichever comes first.

If the passport expires before the 1-year period, a work permit can be issued until the expiry of the passport or travel document, whichever is earlier. The foreign worker may apply for the balance by submitting an application for a work permit extension. This would require that the employer submit a new offer of employment and pay the employer compliance fee.

Work permit processing

The work permit application must be submitted online. Foreign nationals and their spouses may not apply for the RNIP work permit at a port of entry.

Officers should fully assess the application package. These applications are not vetted by the community.

Work permit extension

In some rare situations, the application for permanent residence may take more than 1 year to be processed. Applicants to the RNIP are not eligible for a bridging open work permit. Applicants who require additional time in Canada while their application for permanent residence is being processed may apply to extend their work permit. If the permanent residence application is refused, the applicant may not extend their work permit.

Work permits for spouses and common-law partners

Officers may issue an open work permit to RNIP spouses under LMIA exemption code C17, with a location restriction to the community where the principal applicant works. The spouse’s work permit must always be restricted to the same community as the principal applicant’s job location and should not be amended.

The open work permit should have a validity that matches the principal applicant’s, up to a maximum of 1 year or until the expiry of the passport or travel document, whichever is earlier.

Note to border services officers: Foreign nationals may not apply for an open work permit under LMIA exemption C17 at a port of entry.

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