Vernon B.C. launches Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot

A municipality in B.C.’s Okanagan Valley is accepting applications from immigration candidates

New immigrants and temporary foreign workers in Canada may have the opportunity to apply for Canadian permanent residence in Vernon, B.C.— a small city in Canada’s wine country.

Vernon became the fourth community to accept applications through the Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot (RNIP) on February 1. The program will be open until February 2022.

The following communities are now accepting applications through the pilot:

  • Brandon, Manitoba
  • Altona/Rhineland, Manitoba
  • Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario
  • Vernon, B.C.

The pilot was created to connect foreign workers with Canadian employers from communities facing labour shortages.

Candidates need an eligible job offer for a full-time permanent position in a participating community.

A total of 11 communities are involved in the program. The following communities have yet to begin accepting applications.

  • North Bay, Ontario
  • Sudbury, Ontario
  • Timmins, Ontario
  • Thunder Bay, Ontario
  • Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan
  • Claresholm, Alberta
  • West Kootenay (Trail, Castlegar, Rossland, Nelson), British Columbia

Applying for permanent residence through Vernon

In order to qualify for the RNIP in Vernon, candidates must first meet federal eligibility requirements.

Vernon requires that candidates have a Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) of level five or higher in English or French. All candidates must complete a candidate profile on the city’s webpage.

Candidates are ranked on Vernon’s Comprehensive Ranking System (VCRS). Much like the federal Express Entry system, candidates are given a score based on human capital factors. Vernon’s system includes in its scoring grid the candidate’s potential to integrate and stay in the community.

Prospective Vernonites can receive up to 100 points for factors such as age, and language as well as their connection to the community. Having previously worked, studied, or bought property in Vernon will help improve a candidate’s score. Candidates can get points for having travelled to the community, for having a Canadian driver’s licence or permit, and for having family connections in the area. The wage of the candidate’s job offer may also have an effect on their score.

Once the federal and community eligibility criteria are met, profiles will be placed into a pool. A committee will accept applicants up to the last day of every month.

The committee will offer 10 recommendations per month to candidates who best fit the community criteria based on Vernon’s ranking system. If a candidate is not chosen for a recommendation, they will be put back into the candidate pool for a period of up to three months after the application date. After three months the application will be declined, however, candidates may re-apply.

Vernon is allowed to give 100 recommendations for each year of the pilot. Candidates need to have a job offer with an hourly wage of at least $25 per hour in order to qualify.

There is an opportunity for those who are currently studying, working, or residing in Vernon to bypass the wage requirement. The committee will give nominations to up to 10 per cent of candidates who have a job offer that pays between $20 and $24.99, as long as their VCRS score meets or exceeds 65 points.

Candidates applying from abroad must complete a 15 to 30 minute interview via videoconference. Those who are currently in the community may need to attend an in-person interview, at the committee’s discretion.

Job opportunities in Vernon are available through the city’s RNIP webpage.

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