Rural Northern Immigration Pilot policy changes effective Sept. 1
VERNON, BC—More businesses will be able to take advantage of a program that connects local employers with skilled international workers.
Launched in February 2020, the Rural Northern Immigration Pilot (RNIP) helps smaller communities benefit from the immigration of skilled workers by creating a path to permanent residency. Once there’s a match between qualified employers and applicants, a Community Futures North Okanagan committee reviews applications and recommends candidates for the program.
Starting on Sept. 1, employers are limited to six community recommendations per year. Each candidate can now apply for two recommendations throughout the entire program. Before the changes, there was no limit on the number of community recommendations for employers and skilled workers.
“Due to significantly increased demand for the program, these limits help ensure more employers in our community have a chance to benefit from the RNIP program,” says Leigha Horsfield, Executive Director, Community Futures North Okanagan.
However, Horsfield says, priority jobs such as registered and licensed practical nurses, medical lab techs, nurse aids, early childhood educators and assistants as well as certain skilled trades workers are exempt from this new cap.
Vernon is one of two communities in B.C. and one of 11 in Canada selected to participate in the pilot. Through the program, the community can recommend up to 220 applicants per year.
“The program’s ability to fill skill shortages in our workforce is exceptional,” says Horsfield. “Through the program, we’ve seen the North Okanagan promoted as a destination of choice for skilled immigrants and their families.”
Businesses interested in hiring skilled workers through the program attend training sessions with Community Futures. Employers must meet several eligibility requirements, including offering full-time, non-seasonal employment, have at least three full-time employees, and offer competitive wages.
To learn more about the RNIP program and stay up to date with new changes, visit www.rnip-vernon.ca.