By Rob Vogt, Local Press Writer
The Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot (RNIP), has been recommending candidates and some have already arrived.
Claresholm is one of just 11 communities across Canada, and the only one in Alberta, selected for the Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot.
This is an economic development program, not a refugee settlement program, and there are several requirements candidates must meet.
Those include a Canadian high school diploma or equivalent; and meeting a Canadian English language benchmark.
Individuals must have $8,700 in unencumbered funds in the bank. A family of four must have about $17,000 in unencumbered funds.
They must have a job offer from a designated employer, and candidates need 1,570 hours of continual work experience in the last three years in the same career. The level of experience must match the job too.
The candidate must also be recommended by the town’s economic development committee.
There are several steps to the process that lead to permanent residence.
The community and/or employer approaches a prospective candidate; or a prospective candidate approaches the community and/or employer.
The candidate submits an application for endorsement.
The community reviews the applications and selects “best fit” candidates.
The community endorses the candidate, making them eligible to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada for permanent residence.
The candidate submits a permanent residence application to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada.
The candidate is assessed against federal selection criteria and admissibility requirements.
The candidate obtains permanent residence.
The community welcomes the candidate and family members, and provides services to support their settlement and immigration.
Brady Schnell, the town’s economic development officer, explained the economic development committee began looking at applications in April.
Since then there have been 11 recommendations, of those with offers of employment, by the EDC for permanent residence in Claresholm.
He noted some candidates are from abroad. Some candidates were already in the country, and have re-located to Claresholm, found a place to live and are working. There is a balance of both.
Those who have re-located here have come from communities such as Fort McMurray, Canmore, Edmonton, and Cochrane.
“That’s an immediate impact on the community,” Schnell said.
Those coming from abroad are from the Pilippines, India, Dubai, Japan, Hong Kong, and the Ukraine.
However, because of travel restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic, none have arrived yet.
(Please see related story on page five)
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