Virginia, US

Jan 24 2019

Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot Program Announced


The situation

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) is piloting the Rural and Northern Immigration program, which is intended to facilitate economic immigration to less-populated communities in Canada.

A closer look

The Canadian government is currently seeking out eligible communities to participate in the pilot program. Details of the program include the following:

  • Eligibility. To participate in the pilot program, communities must:
    • have a population of 50,000 or less and be located at least 75 kilometers from the core of a Census Metropolitan area or up to 200,000 people and be considered remote from other larger cities; or
    • be located in Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, Northwest Territories, Nunavut, Ontario, Saskatchewan, or Yukon; and
    • have job opportunities;
    • have an economic development plan written in the last three years;
    • have a local economic development organization that can manage the pilot for the community; and
    • be able to settle new immigrants in the community.

  • Application method. Only organizations responsible for providing economic development services in the community can apply for the program. The economic development organization must submit an application by March 1, 2019 by either emailing the Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot with the completed form and supporting documents or mailing the application using the instructions provided on the IRCC website.

  • Selection. Selected communities will be announced between March and May of 2019. If the community is selected, an economic development organization (such as a chamber of commerce; a community futures organization; an independent or non-profit economic development organization; or a hybrid organization of a municipality with an independent board of directors made up of community stakeholders) is expected to manage the pilot program, which would include working with stakeholders in the community to attract and integrate newcomers.


Impact for foreign nationals

Lesser-skilled foreign nationals should benefit from this scheme since it allows immigration to a wider array of foreign workers than is allowed under other schemes, in order to fill the diverse labour market needs of rural communities.


The pilot program is meant to complement other economic immigration initiatives available in Canada, including the current Atlantic Immigration Pilot and the Provincial Nominee Programs.

Looking ahead

Once the pilot period is over, the IRCC will consider whether to extend this as a permanent program. Fragomen will report on further relevant information when it is available.

This alert is for informational purposes only. If you have any questions, please contact the global immigration professional with whom you work at Fragomen or send an email to