Home to Canada's capital, Ottawa, and its largest city, Toronto, the province of Ontario leads when it comes to major economic sectors. Rich in natural resources and a leader in manufacturing, the province is alive with possibilities when it comes to opportunities. Ontario's population quickly edges towards the 15 million mark, and 198,530 immigrants entered via various Ontario immigration pathways.
If you would like to immigrate to Canada and live in its most popular province, you'll be happy to learn that several options are available to make it happen. Let's take a look at the Ontario immigration programs and get you started with your application as soon as possible.
The Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program (OINP)
Because the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada's (IRCC) goal is to attract more immigrants to Canada, Ontario's economic immigration program, the Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program, was established to make this happen. The OINP allows foreign workers and students with the ability to fill the province's skills gaps to apply for nominations. Those who successfully meet the requirements for Ontario immigration earn a nomination, and the government of Canada then grants approval for the permanent residency applications.
Expression of Interest Streams
Foreign Worker Stream
The Employer Job Offer: Foreign Worker Stream in Ontario is a great pathway for foreign workers to work in Canada. Foreign individuals holding a job offer in Canada within a skilled occupation discover a welcoming avenue through this stream, providing employment and the opportunity to reside and work permanently in Ontario.
Requirements for the Job Offer:
- A Full-Time and Permanent Position: This necessitates a commitment of a minimum of 1,560 hours annually, equivalent to at least 30 hours of paid work per week. Seasonal or contract-based positions are ineligible.
- An Eligible Occupation within the TEER Categories: The occupation must fall within TEER categories 0, 1, 2, or 3 of the National Occupational Classification (NOC).
- Meeting or Exceeding the Median Wage Level: The salary for the offered job must meet or surpass the wage level for the region you will be working in.
- Urgently Necessary to Employer's Business: Filling the position must be urgent for your employer's business, and must align its activities and growth or maintenance.
- Expression of Interest (EOI) and Invitation to Apply (ITA)
- Work Experience or Authorization
- Intention to Live in Ontario
- Legal Status in Canada if applying from within Canada
- Plan to Work in Ontario
In-Demand Skills stream
If you are highly skilled and wish to work in Canada, the Employer Job Offer: In-Demand Skills stream offers foreign workers job offers in specific high-demand sectors, including agriculture, construction, and designated occupations, the chance to pursue Canadian permanent residency in Ontario. This pathway is open to foreign workers both within Canada and abroad.
To kickstart the process, individuals must register for OINP's Expression of Interest System and then await an invitation to apply. Only after receiving this invitation can you submit an online application seeking nomination by the Ontario government for permanent residency.
Following nomination, the subsequent step involves applying to the federal government through the IRCC. The final determination of Canadian permanent residency status lies within the purview of the IRCC, underscoring its pivotal role in shaping the future of individuals aspiring to become permanent residents.
Requirements for the In-Demand Skills stream Positions:
- Full-Time and Permanent Position: The job in Canada must be full-time and permanent, comprising a minimum of 1,560 hours annually, equivalent to at least 30 hours per week. Seasonal or contract-based offers are not eligible.
- Eligible Occupation: The offered position falls within specific in-demand occupations, categorized under NOC TEER category 4 or 5.
- Median Wage Level: The wage offer must meet or exceed the median wage level for the specific Ontario region where you will work.
- Urgently Necessary to Employer's Business: There must be a dire need for this position to be filled
- Work Based in Ontario: Your work under the job offer must predominantly occur in Ontario.
International Student Stream
The Ontario Employer Job Offer: International Student Stream presents an opportunity for international students holding a job offer in a skilled occupation to seek permanent residence and employment in Ontario.
To be eligible, your job offer must fall within TEER (Training, Education, Experience, and Responsibilities) categories 0, 1, 2, or 3.
To start the process, you must enroll in the OINP's Expression of Interest System and await an ITA.
Once nominated, your subsequent step involves applying to the federal government through the IRCC. The final determination regarding who attains permanent residency rests with IRCC.
Applicant requirements include:
- An Expression of Interest and Invitation to Apply - You must have received an invitation to apply and submitted your application within the designated deadline.
- Education - More than half of your studies must have been completed at an eligible Canadian institution while residing and studying in Canada.
- A Valid License or Other Authorization (if applicable) - If your job offer pertains to an occupation requiring a mandatory license or authorization in Ontario, you must possess a valid license or authorization from the appropriate regulatory body in Ontario during your application.
- Intention to Live in Ontario - You must express a genuine intention to reside in Ontario after obtaining Canadian permanent residency.
Masters Graduate Stream
The Masters Graduate Stream allows international graduates with an Ontario master's degree to pursue permanent residence and employment in Ontario. To initiate this process, you must enroll in the OINP's EOI System and await an invitation to apply. Once invited, you can submit your online application for Canadian permanent residency consideration by the Ontario government.
Requirements for the Masters Graduate Stream:
- You must possess an Expression of Interest and Invitation to Apply.
- Apply within the specified deadline after receiving an invitation.
- Validate the qualifications declared in your Expression of Interest to the OINP.
- Fulfill the requirements for a master's degree.
- Ensure a minimum of one full-time academic year of study, with the degree obtained from an eligible Ontario university.
- Demonstrate proficiency in English or French at CLB level 7 or higher.
- Take an approved language test within two years of the application.
- Have at least one year of legal residency in Ontario within the past two years before applying.
- Possess ample funds to support yourself and dependents.
- Meet the requirement through bank statements, annual earnings, or an Ontario job offer.
- Exhibit a clear intention to reside in Ontario post-permanent residency through various ties and affiliations.
- Apply within two years of completing the master's degree requirements.
Ph.D. Graduate Stream
If you hold an Ontario Ph.D. degree as an international student, the PhD Graduate stream provides an excellent opportunity to apply for permanent residency in Canada, specifically in Ontario. Your first step involves registering in the OINP's Expression of Interest System and receiving an invitation to apply before proceeding to submit your online application for nomination by the Ontario government.
Requirements for the Ph.D. Graduate Stream:
- You must possess a Ph.D. from a designated learning institution in Ontario.
- Your application must be submitted within two years of fulfilling the requirements for obtaining your Ph.D.
- You should not have any commitments in your home country (such as a bursary obligation) and must have the necessary settlement funds.
- Demonstrate an intention to live in Ontario and have legally resided in the province for at least one year in the past two years before applying. It is important to keep your legal status in Canada, even if it requires applying for a Canadian visitor visa while your permanent residency application is being processed.
Express Entry Streams
The Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program (OINP) employs the federal government's Express Entry System to manage applications to immigrate to Canada for three streams:
- French-Speaking Skilled Worker stream
- Human Capital Priorities stream
- Skilled Trades stream
Participation in these streams is strictly by invitation. Creating a profile in the Express Entry System is distinct from applying to the OINP or pursuing permanent residency.
Human Capital Priorities Stream
If you fulfill the requirements of the Express Entry System's Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP) or the Canada Experience Class (CEC) Program, you may qualify for the Human Capital Priorities stream by creating an Express Entry profile and expressing interest in Ontario.
Requirements for the Human Capital Priorities Stream:
- Minimum one year of continuous paid full-time work experience (or equivalent in paid part-time work) in TEER 0, 1, or 2 of the NOC.
- Work experience acquired within the last five years from submitting your application to the OINP in the same primary occupation identified in your Express Entry profile.
- Accumulated at least 1,560 hours of work experience in Canada over one year.
Requirements Under the Canadian Experience Class:
- Minimum one year of continuous, paid, full-time employment experience (or equivalent in paid part-time work) in Canada in TEER 0, 1, or 2 of the NOC.
- Work experience obtained within the last three years from submitting your application to the OINP in one or more of the occupations identified in your Express Entry profile.
- Work experience must have been in Canada while maintaining legal status.
- Proficiency in understanding, reading, writing, and speaking English or French at a Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) level 7 or higher. To demonstrate proficiency, take an approved English or French language test before applying to this stream.
- Hold a Canadian bachelor's, master's, PhD, or equivalent.
- If your studies were completed outside Canada, obtain an Educational Credential Assessment report proving education equivalence to a Canadian degree.
- Sufficient funds to support yourself and dependents upon settling in Canada.
Skilled Trades Stream
Ontario's Express Entry Skilled Trades Stream, part of the Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program (OINP), offers foreign nationals with relevant Ontario work experience in eligible skilled trades the opportunity to apply for permanent residency in Ontario.
Requirements for the Skilled Trades Stream:
- A valid Express Entry profile.
- Receipt of a Notification of Interest from Ontario before you apply online for a Canadian permanent residency nomination from the Ontario government.
- An offer of employment in your field in Ontario OR certification in your field from a relevant provincial body.
- Minimum one year of continuous paid full-time work experience (or equivalent in paid part-time work) in Ontario in a skilled trade listed in the NOC.
- Reside in Ontario and possess a valid work permit at the time of application.
- Proficiency in reading, writing, and speaking in English, French, or both at a Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) level 5 or higher.
- Sufficient funds to support yourself and your family.
French-Speaking Skilled Worker Stream
The French-Speaking Skilled Worker Stream represents a specialized immigration pathway tailored to attract individuals proficient in the French language and possessing valuable skills. As an integral part of Canada's broader immigration system, this stream offers a unique opportunity for those excelling in French to elevate their professional prospects.
If you fulfill the requirements of the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP) or the Canada Experience Class (CEC) Program, you may qualify for this stream by creating an Express Entry profile and expressing interest in Ontario.
Language Requirements for the French-Speaking Skilled Worker Stream:
The language requirement becomes a distinguishing factor among candidates in the FSWP or CEC pool for obtaining provincial nomination and permanent residency. To be eligible, you must achieve a minimum score of 7 on one of the French CLB tests:
- Test d'évaluation de français pour le Canada (TEF) or
- Test de connaissance du français pour le Canada (TCF Canada)
You must also attain a minimum score of 6 on one of the English CLB tests:
- International English Language Testing (IELTS) – Only the General Training test is accepted
- Canadian English Language Proficiency Index Program (CELPIP) – Only the General test is accepted
Ontario Pilot Programs
The Ontario Tech Pilot is also part of the OINP. It was established to bridge the skills gap and draw qualified foreign nationals to fill vacancies in the tech sector. There are 29 occupations that fall under the Ontario Tech Pilot. To qualify for the pilot, you'll have to have one year's valid work experience in the relevant tech occupations and meet the requirements for the Human Capital Priorities stream.
Apart from these main immigration streams, there are also two more streams for students that fall under the Human Capital Category, both of which were created for international applicants who have graduated from respective tertiary institutions in Ontario and would like to obtain a Canadian visa.
What Education Should I Have to Apply for Express Entry?
You'll have to have a Canadian bachelor's, master's or PhD degree or the equivalent in your own or another country. If you've graduated outside of Canada, you'll need to get an Educational Credential Assessment report to prove that your credentials match a Canadian degree.
What are Settlement Funds?
If your Ontario Immigration application has succeeded, you'll have to ensure that you have sufficient funds to support yourself and your family. These funds would be the money shown on bank statements, investments, annual remuneration from a job in Ontario, or proof of what you'll earn in a new job in Ontario.