Ontario Announces Updates to its Immigrant Nominee Program

Ontario Announces Updates to its Immigrant Nominee Program
BREAKING: Ontario reopens their International Masters and PhD Graduate Streams 
The government of Ontario has kicked off the year with a flurry of updates, and at the center of these is its very own platform for helping locally-based employers to acquire foreign talents, the aptly named Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program (OINP).
February updates
The latest of which is the reopening of the International Masters Graduate Stream and International PhD Graduate Stream. On February 21, 2017, the government of Ontario said that international students who have obtained a degree from any publicly funded university in the province are now eligible to apply for a permanent residence permit through the streams mentioned above. It is the first time that these streams have reopened since it was paused temporarily in the second quarter last year.
 Eligibility for Masters and PhD Graduate Stream
  • Applicants are living in Canada with a legal status.
  • Only applicants who have completed their Master’s/PhD degree will be deemed qualified for these programs. The government of Ontario also emphasized that international students in the final semester of their studies are not eligible to apply. They must meet all the degree requirements at the time of their application.
  • Individuals who intend to pursue further academic studies in any Canadian university cannot participate in the program.
  • Individuals who completed their Master’s/PhD degree more than two years ago are also disqualified from applying to the program.
  • Applicants should not be under any grant, scholarship, or program that requires them to return to their home country or another jurisdiction (another Canadian province/territory or another country) after the completion of their studies. Only applicants who have successfully fulfilled their bursary obligations can participate in either of these programs.
  • Applicants must not be a refugee claimant with a pending application to remain in Canada or claimants with rejected claims.
*Newest tweaks/additions to the revised eligibility rules are as follows:
  • Applicants residing outside Canada are now eligible to apply for the International Masters Graduate Stream.
  • Applicants now have the option of obtaining their language test through an alternative service provider.
The waiving of the rule that prohibits Master’s degree holders living outside Ontario and Canada from applying for permanent residency permit shows the province of Ontario’s enhanced aggressiveness in acquiring a larger volume of international talents for this year. It’s apparent that the government wants to lure back previous student visa holders into building a career in the province.
Another program that has been reopened is the Express Entry Human Capital Priorities Stream. Ontario will now start its search for potential candidates through the federal government’s Express Entry system. From here they will issue Notification of Interest (NOI), the province’s own version of the federal government’s Invitation to Apply (ITA).
January updates
A new online application system
Ontario also announced that it would no longer accept paper applications for all of its immigration streams.  All applications must be made through the OINP e-Filing Portal. Applicants are required to sign up for a ONe-key account and create a profile in the e-Filing Portal before submitting an application.

 This will also include French-speaking workers applying for an immigrant visa under French-Speaking Skilled Worker Stream.  The inclusion of the French language in the new online application portal has been recognized after a Group of Experts on Francophone Immigration submitted a report in November 2016. The report aims to increase Francophone immigration to Ontario. 
Alongside the updates is the announcement of the province’s renewed commitment to enhance services and eliminate bureaucratic hurdles in the immigration division. “[We] are committed to improving its client experience and online application systems.  For example, the OINP is reviewing its employer-driven streams to better respond to employer needs, and help improve processing times.  Online application systems are also being developed over the coming months for the employer-driven streams, and will be in place as these streams reopen,” it said on its official website.    
Planning to immigrate to Ontario? Talk to one of our  IRCC Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultants.  

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