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Ontario Immigration

Ontario is Canada’s most popular landing destination for immigrants from around the world.

As Canada’s most populous province, nearly 40 percent of Canadians call Ontario home. Ontario is also home to Canada’s capital city, Ottawa, and its largest city, Toronto. In many ways, Ontario is the centre of Canada’s economic, social, and political life. Ontario's vibrant multiculturalism and varied landscapes make this a great place to live and to visit. Ontario is part of the North American manufacturing heartland. Examples of Ontario's key manufacturing industries include autos, information and communications technologies, biotech, pharmaceuticals and medical devices. Ontario is the largest sub-national automotive assembly jurisdiction in North America. Ontario has more than half of the highest quality (“Class 1”) farm land in Canada. There are 51,950 farms in Ontario and they make up almost one-quarter of all farm revenue in Canada. The mining industry in Ontario is a global leader in productivity and has world leading environmental standards. Ontario is among the top 10 producers in the world for nickel and platinum group metals. The province is also a significant producer of gold, copper, zinc, cobalt and silver. The forestry sector supports almost 200,000 direct and indirect jobs across 260 Ontario communities. Although Ontario is a manufacturing powerhouse, the services sector is the largest part of Ontario's economy. It employs 79% (or 5.3 million people) of the province and makes up 76.9% of the province’s economy. Examples of Ontario's major services sector include business and financial services, professional and scientific technical services, and arts and culture.

Ontario recognizes that employers play a critical role in its economic success. For many employers, newcomers to Ontario are a valuable source of skilled labor. For most of the Ontario employers who have difficulty finding the workers, Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program provide valuable options

Ontario’s Provincial Nominee Program is called the Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program (OINP).

Through this program, prospective immigrants with the skills and experience targeted by the province may receive an Ontario Provincial Nomination Certificate, which will allow that foreign national to apply for Canadian Permanent Residence with processing times that are faster than other Canadian immigration classes.

The OINP accepts applications under the following immigration categories:

  • Ontario Express Entry
    • Ontario Express Entry: Human Capital Priorities Stream (Temporary pause on Notifications of Interest (NOIs) being sent as of February 16, 2016)
    • Ontario Express Entry: French-Speaking Skilled Worker Stream
  • General Category (sometimes referred to as Employer Category)
    • Foreign Workers with a Job Offer Stream
  • International Student Category
    • International Students with a Job Offer Stream
    • International Students - Masters Graduate Stream
    • International Students - PhD Graduate Stream
  • Business Category
    • Entrepreneur Stream
    • Corporate Stream
    • Investors Category (discontinued)

Ontario Express Entry: Human Capital Priorities Stream

There is a temporary pause on Notifications of Interest (NOIs) being sent under the Human Capital Priorities Stream as of February 16, 2016.

This stream enables the OINP to nominate individuals who are eligible to enter the federal Express Entry pool and who have the required education, skilled work experience, language ability, and other characteristics to help them successfully establish and integrate into Ontario’s labour market and communities.

Ontario Express Entry: French-Speaking Skilled Worker Stream

The Ontario French-Speaking Skilled Worker Stream is for French-Speaking skilled workers who have strong English language abilities and who want to live and work permanently in Ontario. This stream enables the OINP to nominate individuals in the Express Entry pool and who have the required education, skilled work experience, language ability, and other characteristics to help them successfully establish and integrate into Ontario’s labour market and communities.

General Category

This is a two-step application process: Step 1: Employers submit a Pre-screen Application to Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program requesting positions for which the employer would like to recruit a foreign national. Step 2: The individuals who have been recruited submit a nominee application package to Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program. As of May 9, 2016, there is a temporary pause on the intake of applications to the Employer Pre-screen application process. Foreign skilled workers with job offers that have already been approved by the OINP may continue to submit a Nominee Application.

Through this category, Ontario employers are able to recruit foreign workers for approved skilled positions (classified by the Government of Canada as NOC Skill Type 0 or Skill Level A or B). These employees may be living abroad or in Canada at the time of application.

International Student Category

As of May 9, 2016, there is a temporary pause in effect on new applications to the Masters Graduate and PhD Graduate streams. The International Student with a Job Offer Stream remains open to eligible candidates whose job offer has already been approved through the Employer Pre-screen application process.

This category is for students from abroad. The International Students category accepts applications under the following three streams:

International Student with a Job Offer Stream

This stream was created to help employers recruit international students. It is open to Ontario employers and students with job offers in the province. Prospective nominees can only apply if they have received an approved permanent full-time job offer from an Ontario employer, or from a business making an approved and endorsed investment in Ontario.

International Masters Graduate Stream

This stream targets individuals who have graduated with a Master’s degree from one of Ontario’s publicly funded universities. A job offer is not required. In order to by eligible, the applicant must meet the following criteria:

  • have graduated or have met degree requirements from a Masters Degree program that is at least one academic year, completed full-time at an eligible university in Ontario,
  • applying within two years of the date on which their Masters Degree was granted,
  • have legal status in Canada (i.e. study permit, work permit, visitor record),
  • currently reside in Ontario, and intends to live and work in Ontario,
  • demonstrate high official language proficiency equivalent to Canadian Language Benchmark 7
  • demonstrate a minimum level of savings/income to support themselves and their dependents,
  • demonstrate at least 12 cumulative months of residence in Ontario in the 24 months prior to the submission of the application, and
  • must not be intending to pursue further academic studies in Ontario.
International PhD Graduate Stream

To be eligible to apply as a PhD Graduate, the applicant must meet the following criteria:

  • have successfully completed all requirements for the degree at an eligible publicly-funded university in Ontario where the applicant completed at least two years of study,
  • applying within two years of the date on which their PhD was granted,
  • intends to live and work in Ontario, and have legal status in Canada (i.e. study permit, work permit, visitor record) if living in Canada at the time of the application
    • PhD applicants can also apply for OINP outside of Canada.
    • A job offer is not required.

Business Category

Entrepreneur Stream

This stream is designed to attract individuals who are looking to implement a new business initiative or buy an existing business in Ontario. Successful applicants will obtain a temporary work permit support letter – based on a performance agreement – to establish the business in Ontario. An online Expression of Interest needs to be entered into the selection pool and it will be ranked by score.  Periodically, the ministry will draw registrants from the EOI selection pool and invite them to apply to the OINP Entrepreneur Stream. If the investment and job creation agreements outlined in the performance agreement are adhered to, entrepreneurs will have the opportunity to be nominated for Canadian permanent resident status.

To be eligible, the applicant and the business partner, if any, must meet five factors;

  • Experience
    • At least 36 months of full-time business experience in the last 60 months as a business owner OR as a senior manager.
  • Net Worth
    • For business in GTA, minimum net worth of $1,500,000 CDN.
    • For business, outside of the GTA, minimum net worth of $800,000 CDN.
    • If the business will be in the ICT/Digital Communications sector, minimum net worth of $800,000 CDN
  • Personal Investment Funds
    • If the business will be located within the GTA, the minimum personal investment is $1,000,000 CDN and have a minimum equity ownership of 33.3 per cent.
    • outside of the GTA, the minimum personal investment of $500,000 CDN and have a minimum equity ownership of 33.3 per cent.
    • If the proposed business will be in the ICT/Digital Communications sector, the minimum personal investment of $500,000 CDN and have a minimum equity ownership of 33.3 per cent.
  •  Job Creation
    • Business must create at least two permanent full-time jobs for Canadian citizens/ permanent residents.
  •  Exploratory Visit
    • If purchasing an existing business, applicant must make at least one business-related visit to Ontario in the last 12 months prior to the date of application submission.
Corporate Stream

This stream aims to help and support established international corporations looking to expand into Ontario or buy an existing business. Once the business has been successfully established, key staff are eligible to apply for a provincial nomination certificate, allowing them to eventually become permanent residents of Canada.

The corporation and the key staff must meet all eligibility criteria in order to apply to the Corporate Stream, including:

  • corporation must invest a minimum of $5 million CDN in a new or existing business
  • Corporation must create five full-time, permanent positions for Canadian citizens or permanent residents per key staff
  • Key staff seeking nomination must be currently employed with the corporation and be essential to the establishment
  • Key staff must meet a minimum language requirement of Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB 5) level
Investors Stream

As of October 29, 2015, the OINP Investors Stream is closed and no longer accepting applications.

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