The Ontario Provincial Nominee Program (PNP)

Overview

Ontario, known as the heartland of Canada, attracts immigrants from all parts of the world. This province is renowned for its lively cities, countless opportunities, and inclusive communities, making it a symbol of multiculturalism and economic success in Canada. As the most populous province, Ontario welcomes almost 40 percent of the country’s population, featuring a diverse mix of cultures and ways of life. Here, in the bustling city of Toronto and the esteemed capital, Ottawa, dreams take flight and ambitions are realized.

The program, also known as the Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program (OINP), was established in 2007. It aims to address skill shortages, promote investments, and provide seamless integration for newcomers, solidifying its position as a crucial part of Canada’s immigration landscape. Initially, the program only nominated around 1,000 individuals annually, but it has since expanded to welcome approximately 8,000 people each year.

Objectives of the Ontario PNP

The Ontario PNP has the following main objectives:

  • Addressing skill shortages in targeted areas: The program aims to meet the demands of the labor market by attracting skilled workers to Ontario.
  • Encouraging investment in Ontario: The program promotes economic growth by encouraging entrepreneurs and investors to establish or acquire businesses in the province.
  • Assisting with settlement and integration: The OINP strives to ensure that newcomers have the necessary support and resources to successfully settle and integrate into Ontario.

Enhanced Streams and Express Entry Alignment

The Ontario PNP includes both base streams and enhanced streams. The enhanced streams are aligned with the federal Express Entry system, which manages permanent residence applications through Canada’s main economic class immigration programs. Candidates nominated through enhanced streams receive an additional 600 Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) points, guaranteeing an invitation to apply for permanent residence.

Categories under the Ontario PNP

If you are planning to immigrate to Ontario, there are four overarching categories to choose from under the Ontario PNP:

  • Human Capital Category
  • Masters or PhD Category
  • Employer Job Offer Category
  • Business Category

Let’s take a closer look at each category to help you determine the most suitable pathway for your immigration goals.

Human Capital Category

The Human Capital Category is designed for skilled workers, French-speaking skilled workers, tradespersons, and international graduates with a Master’s or PhD degree from an Ontario university. It is an attractive option for those looking to immigrate as it does not require a job offer.

Human Capital Category is a sub-stream of  Ontario Express Entry, which is aligned with the federal Express Entry system. This sub-stream comprises of the following programs:

  1. Human Capital Priorities: This category encompasses the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP) and the Canadian Experience Class (CEC). Applicants must have a valid Express Entry profile, at least one year of full-time paid work experience, and a bachelor’s, masters, or PhD degree. They must also demonstrate language proficiency in either English or French at the Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) level 7 or higher.
  2. Skilled Trades: This program is aimed at individuals with relevant Ontario work experience in an eligible trade occupation. Applicants must have a valid Express Entry profile, at least one year of full-time paid work experience, and a valid certificate or license (if applicable). Language proficiency in English or French at the CLB level 5 or higher is required.
  3. French-Speaking Skilled Worker: Similar to the Human Capital Priorities program, this stream also operates through either the FSWP or CEC. However, applicants must have a strong proficiency in both French and English, with a CLB level 7 or higher in both languages. They must also meet the requirements of having a valid Express Entry profile, at least one year of full-time paid work experience, and a bachelor’s, masters, or PhD degree.
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Application Process 

To apply for the Human Capital Category, you must follow the steps outlined below:

  1. Register for a ONe-key account on the OINP website.
  2. Create a profile and select the appropriate stream within the Human Capital Category.
  3. Initiate your application through the portal by clicking on the corresponding file number for your chosen stream.
  4. Upload all required documents.
  5. Maintain a valid Express Entry profile.
  6. If your profile meets the requirements for one of the Ontario Express Entry sub-streams, you may receive a Notification of Interest (NOI) from the OINP. This NOI allows you to apply for a provincial nomination.

Once you receive the NOI, you have 45 days to submit your application through the OINP portal. It is important to ensure that all necessary information and supporting documents are accurate. 

You will also need to pay an application fee, which varies depending on the stream you are applying under. Be sure to check the official OINP website for the most recent fee structure.

After submitting your application, the OINP will assess it based on the eligibility criteria and selection factors of your chosen stream. 

If your application is successful, you will receive a provincial nomination. This nomination allows you to apply for permanent residence to the federal government of Canada.

Once nominated, you must submit your application for permanent residence to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) within 60 days. 

The IRCC will evaluate your application for medical, security, and admissibility criteria. If approved, you and your accompanying family members will receive confirmation of permanent residence.

Upon arrival in Ontario, it is your responsibility to fulfill the terms and conditions of your nomination and make every effort to establish yourself successfully in the province. 

Masters or PhD Category

The Masters or PhD Category targets international students who have recently completed a Master’s or PhD degree from an eligible Ontario university without the need for a job offer, providing a desirable path for those aiming to continue their academic and professional journey in Ontario. The application fee for this category is CAD $1,500.The processing time is about 30-60 working days.

Eligibility Requirements

To be eligible for this category, you must meet certain requirements, including: 

  • Having obtained a Master’s or PhD degree from an eligible Ontario university within the preceding two years
  • Possessing at least one year of full-time paid work experience in your field of study in Ontario
  • Must meet the necessary English or French language proficiency standards CLB level 7 or higher as defined by the OINP
  • Must legally live in Ontario for a minimum one year in the past two years.

Application Process

To apply for the Masters or PhD Category, follow these steps: 

  1. Create a profile and register for a ONe-key account on the OINP website
  2. Complete the application through the OINP portal
  3. Submit all required documents and information, pay the application fee within the designated time frame 
  4. Wait for your application to be assessed by the OINP based on the established criteria and selection factors.

 If your application is approved, you will receive a provincial nomination, which you can use to apply for permanent residence with the federal government through the IRCC within 60 days. 

The IRCC will then thoroughly assess your permanent residence application, including conducting medical, security, and admissibility checks. Upon approval, you and your accompanying family members will receive confirmation of permanent residence. 

Lastly, upon arrival in Ontario, it is important that you fulfill the terms and conditions of your nomination and successfully integrate into the province.

Employer Job Offer Category

The Employer Job Offer Category aims to attract capable individuals with a permanent, full-time job offer from an Ontario employer. It consists of three streams: 

  1. Foreign Worker Stream:  For skilled workers employed in occupations classified as NOC Skill Type 0 or Skill Level A or B. the application fee for the program is different based on the job offer.If the job offer is from outside the Greater Toronto Area the fee will be CAD $1,500. And if the job offer is from within the Greater Toronto Area (City of Toronto, Durham, Halton, York and Peel regions) the fee will be CAD $2,000. The application process is about 60 t5o 90 working days.
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Eligibility Requirements

  • Applicants are required to have a minimum of two years of work experience, unless the occupation does not mandate a license or other form of authorization. 
  • In addition, the salary must exceed the median wage for that specific occupation in Ontario.
  1. International Student Stream: For recent graduates with a job offer from an Ontario employer. The application fee for the program is CAD $1,500 and the processing time is about 90 to 120 working days.

In-Demand Skills Stream: For workers in select high-demand occupations in Ontario. The application fee and processing time is the same as foreign worker stream.

Eligibility Requirements

  • You must have at least nine months of work experience in an in-demand occupation, with a minimum language requirement of CLB 4 or higher in either English or French.
  •  A high school diploma is also required, and the pay offered must be higher than the median wage level for that particular occupation in Ontario.
  • The salary must exceed the minimum wage for the specific occupation in Ontario, and a two-year degree or diploma from a Canadian institution is required.

General Eligibility Requirements

The following criteria are necessary for eligibility:

  • Applicant must possess an unrestricted, full-time employment offer in an acceptable occupation in Ontario
  • Applicant must possess the necessary skills, qualifications, and licenses required to fulfill the job duties
  • Applicant must have a genuine intention to reside in Ontario
  • Employers must fulfill additional criteria related to their business, revenue, and employment.

Application Process

To utilize the OINP e-Filing Portal, you must first establish a profile and register your Expression of Interest (EOI). 

The province of Ontario routinely conducts provincial draws to extend invitations to the most qualified candidates in the pool. 

If you are selected, you will be notified through the portal and will be required to submit your application within 14 days. This can be done via your ONe-key account.

Regional Immigration Pilot

The Employer Job Offer Category includes the Regional Immigration Pilot, which is designed to aid in attracting and retaining immigrants to rural and smaller communities in Ontario to address labor shortages. It serves to support the economic growth of these areas. 

This pilot specifically targets individuals with a job offer from an employer in one of the pilot communities. Currently, Ontario has 150 spaces available for nomination in 2021. 

The Ontario Regional Immigration Pilot consists of three designated communities: 

Chatham-Kent, the cities of Belleville and Quinte West, and the city of Cornwall. 

Eligibility requirements

To be eligible for immigration through this program, applicants must have a full-time, permanent job offer from an employer in one of the pilot communities and meet the criteria for one of the Employer Job Offer streams.

If interested, individuals must first register an Expression of Interest (EOI) and specify their intention to apply under the Regional Immigration Pilot.

Business Category

The Business Category aims to attract entrepreneurs and investors who are interested in establishing or purchasing a business in Ontario. The application fee is CAD $3,500

Application processing has two phases. Firstly the assessment of EOI takes less than 30 days.it depends on complexity of the application. 

Business category consists of two streams: 

  • Entrepreneur Stream: for entrepreneurs who want to start a new business or purchase an existing one in Ontario.
  • Corporate Stream: for foreign corporations that want to expand their business into Ontario.

Eligibility Requirements:

To qualify for the Entrepreneur Stream of the Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program (OINP), you must meet several requirements as follows:

  • In the last five years, you must have a minimum of 24 months of business experience. 
  • Additionally, if your business is located in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), you must have a minimum net worth of CAD $800,000. 
  • If your business is located outside the GTA, you must have a minimum net worth of CAD $400,000.
  • You must also make a minimum personal investment of CAD $600,000 if your business will be located in the GTA, or CAD $200,000 if it will be located outside the GTA. 
  • Additionally, you must control at least one-third of the equity in the business and be actively involved in its management. 
  • It is important to note that the primary purpose of your investment should be to generate profit.
  • Furthermore, you must create at least two permanent full-time jobs for Canadian citizens or permanent residents if your business will be in the GTA. 
  • If your business is in the information and communications sector, or digital communications sector, only one full-time job is required, regardless of location. 
  • If your business is located outside the GTA, only one permanent full-time job is required.
  • If you are purchasing an existing business, you must also meet additional requirements. 
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Application Process

  • To begin the process, you must submit an Expression of Interest (EOI) by contacting the OINP via email and requesting a copy of the registration form. 
  • Once you have completed the form and submitted it via email, you will be placed in a pool and ranked against other candidates. 
  • Ontario regularly holds draws where the highest-ranked candidates are invited to submit an application to the Entrepreneur Stream through the OINP e-Filing Portal.
  • Finally, you must also hire a qualified vendor to review your personal net worth and legal accumulation of funds. This step is necessary to ensure that you meet the minimum net worth and personal investment requirements.

Conclusion

Through the Ontario Provincial Nominee Program (PNP), a range of immigration options are available to cater to the unique backgrounds and objectives of individuals. Ontario warmly welcomes skilled workers, recent graduates, and entrepreneurs, offering each group a specific pathway to settle in the province. With careful consideration of eligibility criteria and adherence to the application procedure, you can bolster your chances of obtaining a provincial nomination and eventually gaining permanent residency in the bustling and diverse province of Ontario, situated in Canada.

FAQs

What is the Ontario PNP? 

The Ontario PNP, also known as the Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program (OINP), is a program designed by the government of Ontario to attract skilled workers, international graduates, entrepreneurs, and investors to the province.

How does the Ontario PNP work? 

The Ontario PNP allows the province to nominate applicants who meet the eligibility criteria for permanent residence in Canada. Once nominated, applicants can then apply to the federal government for permanent residence.

What are the eligibility requirements for the Ontario PNP? 

Eligibility requirements vary depending on the specific stream and category within the Ontario PNP. Generally, applicants must have relevant work experience, educational qualifications, language proficiency, and meet other specific requirements.

How long does it take to process an application through the Ontario PNP? 

Processing times for the Ontario PNP can vary depending on the stream and category. Typically, it takes several months for an application to be processed, but processing times can be subject to change.

Do I need a job offer to apply for the Ontario PNP? 

While some categories within the Ontario PNP require a job offer from an Ontario employer, there are also streams that do not require a job offer. Each stream has its own specific requirements, so it is essential to review the eligibility criteria for the stream you are interested in.

Is there a language requirement for the Ontario PNP? 

Yes, language proficiency is a requirement for most categories within the Ontario PNP. Applicants are typically required to demonstrate proficiency in either English or French, depending on the stream, by providing language test results.

What is the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) score, and how does it impact the Ontario PNP? 

The CRS score is a points-based system used by the federal Express Entry system to rank candidates based on factors such as age, education, work experience, and language proficiency. Applicants nominated through enhanced streams of the Ontario PNP receive additional CRS points, significantly enhancing their chances of receiving an invitation to apply for permanent residence.

Can I apply to the Ontario PNP if I have already submitted an Express Entry profile? 

Yes, the Ontario PNP is aligned with the federal Express Entry system. If you have created an Express Entry profile and meet the eligibility criteria for a specific Ontario PNP stream, you can be considered for a provincial nomination.

Can I apply to other provincial nominee programs while applying to the Ontario PNP? 

Yes, you can apply to multiple provincial nominee programs simultaneously. Each province has its own nomination program, and you can explore opportunities in other provinces if you meet their respective eligibility criteria.

What are the benefits of obtaining a provincial nomination through the Ontario PNP? 

Obtaining a provincial nomination through the Ontario PNP has several benefits, including an increased chance of receiving an invitation to apply for permanent residence, additional CRS points, priority processing of applications, and the opportunity to settle and work in a vibrant province with numerous economic and lifestyle opportunities.

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