The Northern and Rural Immigration Pilot Program continues to operate despite the COVID-19 crisis.
Altona and Rhineland Municipality are using the Northern and Rural Immigration Pilot to help local businesses find workers from around the world to fill the chronic shortage of labour.
Local Economic Development Officer Stephanie Harris says officials with Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) have indicated it is business as usual. “The processing times have not changed, however, once applicants have received their documentation to come to Canada their arrival time will depend on open borders and available flights to Canada. We are seeing other countries around the world that are going into lockdown right now, so that may also prolong the processing time for when these applicants can get their applications in the mail.”
Even though it’s business as usual, Local Economic Development Officer Stephanie Harris admits COVID-19 will likely have a significant impact on the local economy. “We are encouraging businesses who are participating in the pilot to review their job postings to ensure the positions they are advertising are still available in their operation, and also ensure that these positions cannot be filled by Canadian citizens or permanent residents given the effects we’re seeing from COVID-19.”
Meanwhile, Harris says the immigration pilot continues to draw interest from people around the world. The local economic development group S.E.E.D., which is running the program locally, has provided four community recommendations. “Two out of the four applicants have confirmed that their applications for permanent residence have been submitted to IRCC for processing.”
Harris says just under 20,000 candidate profiles have been created on the S.E.E.D website from people around the world who would like to make Canada their new home.