Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot (RNIP)

The Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot (RNIP) is a new community-driven immigration program. It is designed to spread the benefits of economic immigration to smaller communities by creating a path to permanent residence for skilled foreign workers who want to work and live in Thunder Bay.

The RNIP allows eligible employers to make full time permanent job offers to skilled foreign workers who can help fill identified labour shortages in our city.

The Thunder Bay Community Economic Development Commission (CEDC) recommends people for permanent residence who have the skills and experience that the Thunder Bay economy needs, and the Government of Canada makes the final decision to approve applications for permanent residence.

The RNIP takes place over three years (late 2019 through 2022). In Year 1 of the Pilot, the federal government has permitted Thunder Bay CEDC to make up to 100 recommendations. The number of recommendations that will be allocated to Thunder Bay CEDC in Years 2 and 3 has not yet been determined.

As of September 8th, 2020, 32 recommendations had been made.

Employee Candidates and Job Seekers

The first step toward achieving permanent residency through RNIP is receiving a job offer from an approved employer for a position in a priority occupation as determined by Thunder Bay CEDC. Candidates must meet all of the eligibility criteria set by the federal government and apply for jobs directly with an employer. Learn more about applying for permanent residency through RNIP below.


The Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot (RNIP) assists Thunder Bay-based employers to fill job vacancies not being filled by the local talent pool. If you would like to use RNIP to recruit for unfilled positions, or would like to retain a foreign skilled worker you already employ, contact us to begin the approval process or find out if your organization and labour needs are a good fit for RNIP.


Priority Occupations

Thunder Bay CEDC has identified jobs currently not being filled by the local labour pool based on different sources of information including feedback from local employers, historical labour market reports, and future labour market projections.  The list is actively maintained and may be amended as needed to reflect the labour market needs of Thunder Bay. View the priority occupations on our Employers page.


Employers must provide full-time permanent non-seasonal employment opportunities in a priority occupation in order to be eligible to make job offers under the Pilot. Candidates must receive a job offer in a priority occupation from a designated employer in order to apply for a community recommendation.

How to Participate


To be eligible to apply for Permanent Resident (PR) status under RNIP, candidates must:


    • Meet all eligibility criteria set by the federal government, and
    • Receive an offer of employment from an approved employer for a full-time permanent job that is deemed a priority occupation by Thunder Bay CEDC.


A more detailed summary of the process is provided below.


Temporary Foreign Workers (TFWs) who currently reside in Thunder Bay must be employed in a priority occupation by an approved employer to participate in RNIP. Employers are to contact Thunder Bay CEDC for approval to make job offers under the Pilot.


International graduates of Lakehead University and Confederation College may be exempt from certain federal eligibility criteria regarding work experience. A job offer in a priority occupation from an approved employer is still required to participate in RNIP.


Candidates must apply for jobs directly with an employer. View priority occupations and job postings.


Don’t meet the RNIP requirements?  For other ways to immigrate to Thunder Bay, visit the Government of Canada’s website.



To be designated to make job offers under the RNIP, employers must meet criteria set by Thunder Bay CEDC. They must also offer full-time permanent positions deemed to be priority occupations.


RNIP can be used to recruit foreign workers for unfilled positions or to retain temporary foreign workers who are already employed. Organizations that are interested in participating in RNIP are encouraged to contact Thunder Bay CEDC for more information and to become a designated employer.

Application Process

1. Eligibility

The candidate must ensure that all of the federal eligibility criteria are met to participate in the Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot (RNIP).


 2. Job Offer

The candidate must receive a job offer for a full-time permanent position with an approved employer in a priority occupation.


Thunder Bay CEDC works with approved employers to ensure job offers are valid for RNIP purposes.


3. Community Recommendation

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) awards permanent resident status to RNIP applicants based on recommendations made by Thunder Bay CEDC. After receiving a qualifying job offer, the candidate is eligible to apply to the RNIP – Thunder Bay Selection Committee for a community recommendation. 


Candidates who receive a qualifying job offer are contacted by Thunder Bay CEDC with instruction on how to complete the application. The Selection Committee will evaluate applications for community recommendations based on applicants’ intent to reside in Thunder Bay and numerous other indicators. The Committee will also assess the applicant’s needs for supports and settlement services at this time.


Candidates are encouraged to review the community recommendation criteria and instructions.


4. Permanent Residency

After successful applicants are recommended for permanent resident status to IRCC, they become eligible to apply to IRCC for permanent residence.


Thunder Bay CEDC forwards recommendations for successful candidates to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).  Candidates with a community recommendation and job offer are then eligible to submit an application for permanent residence to IRCC, who must give final approval for the applicant’s permanent resident status.

Frequently Asked Questions

IELTS Test Centres are closed. Does this affect my ability to apply to the RNIP?

Yes. Applicants must have valid language results to apply for a community recommendation.  If you have not completed language testing, you will have to wait to apply for RNIP until the testing centres reopen.


How long does the RNIP process take?

The timeline can be impacted by a variety of factors such as:

    • how prepared and eligible an applicant is (ie. documentation)
    • where the candidate is located (in Canada or outside of Canada)
    • the candidate’s personal circumstances, and any medical and/or inadmissibility issues
    • whether or not we have reached the cap on skill levels for the year


It is difficult to predict the length of the entire process, however, we estimate applications for community recommendations to be answered within one month from the time of application. It can take one to three months for IRCC to confirm receipt of an application for permanent residence, and the total immigration process can take up to one year to receive the final documents.


When will Thunder Bay start accepting applications for community recommendation?

Thunder Bay CEDC is currently accepting applications for community recommendations from candidates who have a qualifying job offer. Unlike some other communities participating in RNIP, the application process is not available for general submissions.  Only candidates who meet all of the federal eligibility criteria, as well as program requirements (job offer + priority occupation + approved employer) are authorized to submit an application for a community recommendation.


What is the cost to apply for Permanent Resident status under the Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot?

The application fee for permanent residence under the Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot is CAD $1325.  This fee consists of both a processing fee ($825) and a right of permanent residence fee ($500).  Additional fees apply to those with a spouse and dependents.  You can find the full fee schedule on the Government of Canada’s website.


There are no additional application fees associated applying for a community recommendation under the RNIP – Thunder Bay.


I am interested in migrating to Thunder Bay through the RNIP. Can Thunder Bay CEDC help me find a job?

Unfortunately, we do not provide job matching services at this time. Candidates must apply for jobs directly with employers.

View priority occupations and job postings.


Which employers are designated to offer jobs under the RNIP?

Job postings with approved employers are posted on our Employment page. Candidates must apply for jobs directly with the employers.

Local employers who are interested in using RNIP to hire for unfilled positions are encouraged to contact Thunder Bay CEDC by completing this form.


I am a refugee claimant. Am I eligible to apply for permanent residency through the Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot?

No. Applicants must submit proof (to IRCC) that they have valid immigration status in Canada.

Per Ministerial Instructions, If a foreign national is in Canada at the time of their permanent resident visa application, they must have temporary resident status.

Translate »
Skip to content