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Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program (OINP): Things You Should Know

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An image of the building of Legislative Assembly of Ontario.Canada can be an exciting country to live and work in. Its economy is such that not all jobs can be filled by the people living here, which is one of the reasons Canada welcomes so many immigrants.

To help identify the skills, experience, and education required to fill those jobs with foreign workers, the federal government, through Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), has created the Provincial Nominee Program (PNP). This Ontario Nominee Program (or 'Ontario PNP') allows each of the participating provinces and territories to select the specific skillsets that meet their economic needs.

Ontario’s Provincial Nominee Program is employer-driven and operates under the name Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program (OINP). It is designed to give employers who can’t find skilled workers to fill positions the opportunity to recruit foreign workers with the right qualifications for the job. In 2017, there is a target of achieving 6,000 nominations through OINP.

How Does the Ontario Provincial Nominee Program (OINP) Work?

Applications to the Ontario Nominee Program are accepted only online through the OINP e-Filing Portal. If you have a permanent, full-time job offer, you can apply through the Foreign Worker—Employer Job Offer Stream. If you do not have a job offer, you must first qualify for and apply to IRCC’s Express Entry.

International Graduate Students—with either a Masters or PhD degree—can apply directly to OINP without a job offer. Most candidates will need to prove language proficiency. On the application, you need to express your intention to live and work permanently in Ontario.

Once an individual has been accepted into the program, Ontario will nominate that person, along with his or her spouse and any dependent children, for Permanent Residency.

Foreign Worker—Employer Job Offer Stream

In addition to having a permanent, full-time job offer, applicants must meet certain criteria such as having two years of relevant experience within the past five years, and possessing any necessary licensing.

When you apply you can be either living in Canada with the proper documentation (i.e. temporary work permit or visitor permit) or living abroad. The fee for this stream depends on the location of the job. If it is in the City of Toronto, Durham, Halton, Peel, or York Regions (defined as the Greater Toronto Area or GTA), the fee is $2,000. For jobs located outside the GTA, the fee is $1,500.

A key part of the application is the Employer Form. This is completed by the company that offered you the job. In order to participate in OINP, the employers have certain requirements, such as length of time in business, the size of the business, and location of the business.

International Students—Masters Graduate & PhD Graduate Streams

As indicated above, International Students with Masters or PhD degrees from a publicly-funded university in Ontario, can apply to OINP without having a job offer. The application must be submitted within two years of the date the degree was granted—students can not apply before they have finished their degree.

International students are required to have settlement funds to support themselves while they look for a permanent, full-time job. The fee to apply under this stream is $1,500.

Ontario Express Entry Stream

OINP Express Entry stream considers any candidates within IRCC’s Express Entry pool who have selected Ontario or all provinces/territories on their profile. Candidates who have the matching skills and education needed for Ontario employers will be sent a Notification of Interest. The OINP fee for Express Entry is $1,500. There are three streams OINP focuses on:

  • OEE Human Capital Priorities Stream. This stream looks for specific skilled work experience and education that matches the needs of employers.
  • French-Speaking Skilled Worker Stream. Ontario has made a commitment to bring the Francophone immigration to the province to 5%. Candidates under this stream need to meet language requirements in both French and English.
  • Skilled Trades Stream. Foreign workers with skilled trades who have 12 months work experience within the past two years and any required trade certification could be eligible under this stream.

Corporate and Entrepreneur Streams

For investors and business people considering investing in Ontario, there are the Corporate and Entrepreneur Streams. Under certain criteria investors can have key employees nominated for Permanent Residency. And entrepreneurs who have innovative business ideas that fit within the economic landscape of the province may be eligible for nomination. The OINP guidelines for these streams set out certain perimeters for financial commitment and job creation.

Understanding OINP

OINP’s focus is on finding foreign workers who have the skills to meet the employment demands in Ontario. As with any immigration application, people need to have the correct documentation as well as presenting their strongest case. For these reasons, many applicants seek the assistance of immigration professionals. Experienced immigration professionals understand the subtleties of Canada’s Provincial Nominee Program and can help ensure your application is complete.

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