New criteria for North Okanagan Immigration Pilot

The Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot (RNIP) for the Vernon-North Okanagan is updating its community criteria effective December 1, 2020. The criteria have been enhanced to support employers to hire more employees and grow the local economy.

The three-year pilot began accepting applications in February 2020, with a maximum applicant limit of 100 per year. Since then, a total of 21 applications have been received and 19 forwarded to the federal government as recommended.

“We are very pleased with the quality and variety of candidates that have applied to date,” says Leigha Horsfield, Executive Director Community Futures North Okanagan, which coordinates the pilot through a contract with IRCC. “We were conservative with our community criteria in the early stages because we wanted to be sure we could manage potential demand. However, with the complexities of COVID impacting some employers and the restrictions on international travel, the pilot easily processed all job offers. The expanded criteria will now allow employers to offer this path to immigration to more current employees.”

The changes include reducing the minimum wage permitted to $23 from $25 dollars per hour, broadening the exemptions criteria, reducing points for candidates with family in the community, and increasing points for working or studying in the community. Points have also changed for each age category.

The website https://rnip-vernon-northok.ca provides more details and contact information.

Employers with vacant jobs that may fit the criteria are asked to contact Ward Mercer, RNIP Vernon-North Okanagan Coordinator to learn more about becoming pre-approved and inviting applicants through the RNIP job database. The database currently has more than 16,000 applicants who are actively seeking employment in our area.

Employees who have current work permits and who would like to attain Canadian permanent residency may be eligible based on the community job criteria. They or their employers are also invited to contact the Vernon North-Okanagan RNIP Coordinator online or at 250- 938-1066

One of 11 pilots across Canada, this Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot includes employment in the North Okanagan and Coldstream districts and municipalities of Vernon, Lake Country, Armstrong, Spallumcheen, Lumby and Enderby.

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