Policy changes to the Rural North Okanagan Immigration Pilot (RNIP) will allow more businesses to take advantage of the program.
Launched in February 2020, the RNIP connects employers in the region to skilled international workers and helps smaller communities benefit from immigrant workers by creating pathways to permanent residency. Once there’s a match between an employer and an applicant, a Community Futures North Okanagan committee reviews applications and recommends candidates for the program.
There is currently no limit on the number of community recommendations for employers and skilled workers, but starting Sept. 1, employers will be limited to six community recommendations per year, and each candidate can apply for two recommendations throughout the entire program.
“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,” said Leigha Horsfield, executive director of Community Futures North Okanagan.
However, Horsfield says priority jobs such as registered practical nurses, medical lab techs, nurse aids, early childhood educators and certain skilled trades workers are exempt from the new limits.
Vernon is one of two communities in B.C. and 11 in Canada selected to take part in the pilot. Through the program, Vernon can recommend up to 220 applicants per year.
“The program’s ability to fill skill shortages in our workforce is exceptional,” said 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 can attend training sessions with Community Futures. Employers must meet several eligibility requirements including offering full-time, non-seasonal employment, having at least three full-time employees, and offering competitive wages.
To learn more about the program, visit rnip-vernon.ca.