Timmins Economic Development Corporation is now accepting applications for the Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot program.
The federal immigration project, announced last June, aims to attract and retain skilled immigrants and fill labour shortages in 11 communities across the country, including Timmins.
Because of the travel restrictions due to COVID-19, only candidates who are living and working in Timmins, such as temporary foreign workers or international students, are eligible to apply.
“We’re reviewing this on a day-by-day basis based on all the developments happening in the country and across the world,” said Antoine Vézina, director of community economic development at the Timmins Economic Development Corporation (TEDC). “We can’t proceed by accepting applications from abroad because of the travel restrictions. So, there’s no point in even considering those until we know for sure that travel restrictions and bans are lifted.”
Initially, it was estimated the program would bring about 100 newcomers plus their family members to Timmins every year for three years. But if there are any issues moving forward or if there's low demand locally, the number of applicants may drop as well, Vézina said.
“The priority is for local individuals, for Canadians, to get their jobs back," he said in a phone interview.
"But if the demand is high after and if there are still labour shortages, this is what our RNIP is for – to help employers respond to their labour challenges."
Based on research and labour forecast studies, skilled workers are needed for certain positions in the business administration, trades, healthcare and social work, and information technology job sectors, Vézina said. A maximum of 10 applicants can also apply to be considered under an open job category, according to the corporation’s website.
Candidates must demonstrate they’re willing to live and work in Timmins for the long term, while employers wishing to participate in the program have to prove they tried to hire local workers first before an international applicant will be considered for an employer, Vézina said.
The program just started this week and there’s been a couple of dozen applications so far. The numbers are likely to remain low because only qualified international students and foreign temporary workers who live in Timmins are currently eligible to apply, Vézina explained.
“We’re following Immigration Canada’s advice. We’re talking to all of the other northern municipalities that are also part of RNIP on the best way forward.”
For more information about the program, visit the TEDC website or contact the TEDC office.