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 December, 2020, 69 recommendations have 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.

How to Participate

Employee Candidates

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 eligible employer for a full-time permanent job in a priority occupation within the Thunder Bay Census Metropolitan Area.

Candidates must apply for jobs directly with an employer.


*NEW* French Essential Occupations

The Thunder Bay CEDC will prioritize occupations in any NOC category if the position requires the candidates to speak French throughout the course of their main duties. Employers seeking to fill “French essential” or “bilingual essential” positions must meet all other employer requirements in order to be eligible under the RNIP.


* NEW* Open Sector: Candidates within Thunder Bay

Candidates applying from within Thunder Bay may receive an offer of employment in any occupation (any NOC) if they meet all of the following criteria:

  • The job offer is a full-time permanent positon.
  • The candidate is already employed in the occupation for which the job offer is being made.
  • The candidate holds a valid work permit.
  • The candidate has resided in Thunder Bay for a minimum of 2 years.
  • The employer meets all required eligibility criteria.

A more detailed summary of the application process is provided below.

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

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



Employers must provide full-time, permanent, non-seasonal employment opportunities in order to be eligible to make job offers under the Pilot. Candidates must receive a job offer from an eligible employer in order to apply for a community recommendation. Employers must also engage in newcomer support and resettlement activities set by Thunder Bay CEDC .

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 complete the employer application 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).

  1. Job Offer

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

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

  1. 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. 

Once a month, the Thunder Bay CEDC will open intake for the RNIP. Candidates who meet all federal eligibility, and have received a qualifying job offer can submit an expression of interest to the Thunder Bay CEDC. Eligible candidates will be contacted by Thunder Bay CEDC with further instructions on how to complete the application. The Selection Committee will evaluate applications for community recommendations based on applicants’ intention 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. Successful applicants will be contacted with the results of the selection committee’s decision.

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


  1. Permanent Residency

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

I’m a candidate within Canada and my work permit is about to expire before I can apply for the RNIP, what do I do?

The RNIP process is lengthy and applications require thorough review and consideration.  In order to maintain a fair and transparent process, we ask that all candidates follow the process outlined on our website.  If you find yourself in a situation where you are concerned about your status in Canada, please seek professional immigration advice. We are unable to advise on these matters.


I believe I am eligible for the RNIP but do not have some of my documents (eg: Educational Credential Assessment, language test) can I still apply for a community recommendation?

Only candidates who can prove that they meet all federal and community eligibility criteria can submit an expression of interest for the RNIP. Candidates must be prepared with all required documents at the time of application for a community recommendation. If you do not have valid documentation, your application will be returned and we will ask you to re-apply at a later date when you are fully prepared.


I have emailed and called the Thunder Bay CEDC regarding the RNIP and have not received a response, what do I do?

We sincerely apologize for any delays in responding to your inquiries.  The Thunder Bay RNIP receive hundreds of inquiries from employers, eligible candidates as well as prospective candidates from across the world.  We do our best to prioritize inquiries based on eligibility.  We ask that new employers contact us by submitting an employer application.  Eligible candidates can submit an expression of interest in applying to the program during the open intake period. Inquiries from individuals who do not have qualifying job offers and do not meet federal eligibility will not be prioritized.


I’d like to speak to someone to determine my eligibility for the RNIP in Thunder Bay, who can I contact?

All of the eligibility requirements for the RNIP can be found online.  In order to determine if you meet the federal eligibility for the program please visit the Government of Canada’s website.  If you meet all federal eligibility and want to determine if you are eligible to apply for a community recommendation, please review the information for candidates and community recommendation factors.  We kindly ask that you do not call the Thunder Bay CEDC offices with inquiries regarding your eligibility.  If you meet all eligibility (both federal and community) we look forward to reviewing your expression of interest.

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.  Please note that the IELTS academic is not accepted for the purposes of immigration through the RNIP.


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 any caps on recommendations 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. Due to COVID-19, it can take several months for IRCC to confirm receipt of an application for permanent residence, and the total immigration process can take a year or more to receive the final documents.


When will Thunder Bay start accepting applications for community recommendation?

Thunder Bay CEDC will accept expressions of interest from candidates who meet all eligibility requirements and have a qualifying job offer.  Intake for expressions of interest will be open once per month. 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 expression of interest in applying 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?

We do not post a list of all eligible employers. Job postings with employers that are actively recruiting through the RNIP are posted on our Employment page. Candidates must apply for jobs directly with the employers.


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.


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