Community learns more about Rural Northern Immigration Pilot

By Rob Vogt – Local Press Writer
The Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot has brought an infusion of new people into the community, to work and live.
An information session on that program was held at the Claresholm town office and multi-use community building on Jan. 18 for about a dozen people in attendance.
It was hosted on by the Claresholm and District Chamber of Commerce and Claresholm Economic Development.
Brady Schnell, the town’s economic development officer, and Heather McKinnon, of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada, described the program in detail.
Schnell explained they are three years into the pilot project, and it has been extended another 12 months.
McKinnon said the pilot project complements other programs, and noted the key component is a job offer.
“A job offer has to be made,” she said.
The community has its own process, in Claresholm’s case the economic development committee, to assess applicants then give their recommendation for permanent residency.
The process was then explained.
The candidate submits an application for endorsement to the economic development committee.
The committee 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.
Those criteria include a Canadian high school diploma or equivalent; one year of full-time, continuous work experience in the past three years in the occupation needed; an offer of employment by an employer carrying on business in the community; a language requirement based on a standard language test; an intention to reside in the community; and a community recommendation.
The candidate obtains permanent residence.
The community welcomes the candidate and family members and provides services to support their settlement and immigration.
Schnell said 49 people have been recommended for full-time employment in 24 different businesses in Claresholm. With spouses and children, a total of 135 people have come to town from 12 different countries.
The session on the Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot was the latest installment in the “Opportunities for Growth” education series offered by the Claresholm and District Chamber of Commerce and Claresholm Economic Development.
(More on this story in the Claresholm Local Press newspaper)