What is the Ontario PhD Graduate Stream and How to Apply in 4 Steps

If you’re an international student in Canada with a PhD degree from an Ontario University, then the Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program (OINP) is for you. International students can start applying for permanent residency in Canada through the OINP PhD Graduate stream.

But before we unravel how international students in Canada can start applying for permanent residency in Canada through the OINP, let’s first take a look at what is the Ontario PhD Graduate stream. 

The aim of the Phd Graduate stream is to offer international students with a PhD degree from a designated university in Ontario, the opportunity to apply for permanent residency in Ontario. These students can be nominated through the OINP PhD graduate stream without a job offer lined up in Ontario.

Turn on the switches and read further as we explain what is the Ontario PhD Graduate stream and how to apply in 4 Steps.

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Step 1: Register In The OINP’s Expression Of Interest System To Receive An Invitation To Apply (ITA)

What’s an Expression Of Interest (EOI)?

An EOI is the process where the applicant indicates their interest in applying to a given stream through an invitation to apply (ITA). This registration step will indicate to the OINP that you wish to receive an ITA to be nominated.

Before applying for permanent residency in Canada through OINP, you must register to receive an ITA before you can directly apply to a given stream.

According to the official website of the Ontario government, OINP is driven by an Expression Of Interest (EOI) system to manage applicants. The program comprises the following streams:

  • Employer Job Offer: Foreign Worker stream
  • Employer Job Offer: International Student stream
  • Employer Job Offer: In-Demand Skills stream
  • Masters Graduate stream
  • PhD Graduate stream
  • Entrepreneur stream

For now, we’ll only focus on what is the Ontario PhD Graduate stream. It is important to understand that international students in Canada can only apply to the PhD graduate stream if they’re invited to apply.

Registering an EOI and going through the process of applying for permanent residency in Canada through OINP are two separate steps. They function independently from each other and are not the same thing.

Before applying to a stream, let’s look at how to register an EOI.

When an international student registers an EOI, OINP will detect relevant information of the applicant. This is used to determine eligibility and labour market needs. Below are some relevant pointers for registering an EOI.

  • You can register an EOI here and create a profile on the OINP e-filing portal.
  • Registration of an EOI does not guarantee an ITA and an ITA does not guarantee a certificate of nomination.
  • Applicants should ensure that they understand and meet the stream requirements.
  • Candidates who get an ITA need to demonstrate that they’re eligible for the stream they’ve applied to.
  • Information that applicants provide in their EOI must be honest and valid.This will later be evaluated. Failure in providing honest and accurate information will result in the application being denied, a penalty or prosecution.
  • Applicants who receive an ITA must apply to the desired stream within 14 calendar days from the date you received the invitation.
  • Applicants should have the necessary supporting documents ready. These documents must be scanned and uploaded in your online application.

Fees and costs

The official website of the Ontario government outlines the following costs to apply:

For the Masters Graduate, PhD Graduate, and Employer Job Offer:

  • International Student streams, the application fee is $1,500.
The application fee for employer Job Offer: Foreign Worker and In-Demand Skills streams:

  • $1,500 if the job offer is outside of the Greater Toronto Area
  • $2,000 if the job offer is within the Greater Toronto Area (City of Toronto, Durham, Halton, York and Peel regions)
The above fees are used for the processing of your application. They must be paid with either Visa, Visa Debit, Mastercard and Mastercard Debit.

Step 2: Check If You Meet The Stream Requirements

Before we get to the point of an ITA, you should’ve registered an EOI which will give OINP an idea of your level of eligibility. According to the Ontario government’s official website, you will be ranked accordingly based on the following factors:

  • education – level of education, field of expertise and where you completed your education
  • language – English or French
  • regional immigration – where in the area do you intend to settle
  • skill and work experience level
  • earnings history
  • other factors such as job offer in Ontario and Canadian work experience
  • the shortfall of labour market needs in Ontario or a region of Ontario

So, you’ve received an ITA to apply and now, you can apply to the desired stream. In this case, you’re applying to the PhD Graduate stream. This means that you should double-check if you meet the requirements of the stream.

Below are the PhD Graduate stream requirements:

You must apply for an EOI in order to receive an ITA

  • The candidate should have received an ITA and should apply within the stipulated period of the deadline.
  • The candidate must prove that they have the credentials they stated in the registration of an EOI and should be able to validate those qualifications.


Upon completion of your PhD degree, you must have ensured that you:

  • You’re eligible for the PhD degree and completed the requirements to graduate successfully with the stipulated PhD degree.
  • Make sure that you’ve graduated from a valid university in Ontario. See a list of eligible Ontario universities offering the PhD degrees.
  • The international student in Canada should’ve completed at least two years of their PhD studies to live and study legally in Ontario.
  • The candidate should ensure that they have intention to live in Ontario before applying. Should the international student in Canada receive a bursary or scholarship that requires them to return home, they may not apply to the stream and should fulfill those commitments first before applying.

Regional Residency

The candidate must have lived in Ontario for at least 12 months out of the last 2 years before applying for permanent residency in Canada through OINP.

Other Relevant Factors

  • The international student in Canadamust have enough money to sustain themselves and their family members once they settle in Canada.
  • The candidate must have actual intention to live and work in Ontario after they’re successful in applying for permanent residency in Canada.
  • The candidate should have legal status like a visitor record, study permit or work permit. This legal status should be maintained when applying for the stream until they get nomintated.
  • The OINP application must be submitted within two years of completing the requirements relevant to obtain the Phd degree. In other words, the applicant must apply before the date that the degree is set to be obtained. The international student in Canada can also use the date on the letter from the university which states the stipulated date in which the degree will be obtained.

Step 3: Get To Know How The Scoring Factors

After you’ve registered your EOI under the chosen stream, points will be assigned to you for each scoring factor. Have your supporting documents ready for submission to validate each scoring factor. You will be ranked according to the following factors as outlined by the Ontario Government’s official website, Ontario.ca:

Employment / Labour Market Factors

Canadian work experience:


Cumulative, full-time or part-time equivalent.

  • 12 Months or more – 4 points
  • Less than 12 months – 0 points
Canadian work experience: NOC skill level

  • NOC Skill Level A – 3 points
  • NOC Skill Level B – 0 points
  • NOC Skill Level C – 0 points
  • NOC Skill Level D – 0 points
Canadian work experience: earnings history

Based on a Notice of Assessment issued by the Canada Revenue Agency in the last five years.

  • $40k or more earnings in a year – 3 points
  • Less than $40k earnings in a year – 0 points


Field of study

Canadian credential required.

  • Engineering – 10 points
  • Health care – 10 points
  • Math and Computer Science – 9 points
  • Business and Administration – 7 points
  • Trades – 7 points
  • Social, Legal, Education and Science – 6 points
  • Arts and Humanities – 5 points

Canadian education experience

When it comes to education experience, the student should have obtained a qualification under a degree or diploma program from a Canadian public institution. The qualification should take a minimum of two years to complete on a full-time basis.

Alternatively, the applicant should be registered under a degree, diploma or certificate program from a Canadian public institution that should take one year to complete on a full-time basis. However, the program should require a degree as an admission requirement. Below are the points allocated for:

  • More than one Canadian credential – 10 points
  • One Canadian credential – 5 points

Official language ability

  • CLB 9 or higher – 10 points
  • CLB 8 – 6 points
  • CLB 7 – 4 points
  • CLB 6 or lower – 0 points
Knowledge of official languages

  • 2 Official Languages – 10 points
  • 1 Official Language – 5 points

      Location of study

  • Outside GTA – 10 points
  • Inside GTA – 6 points
International students in Canada

who are applying for the PhD Graduate Stream through OINP will also need to have the following supporting documents at hand. These documents must be scanned and uploaded with your application:

  • declaration
  • identity documents
  • status documents in Canada
  • residency in Ontario documents
  • education documents
  • documents that show you meet the settlement funds requirement
  • resumé
  • expression of interest selection factors
  • any other supporting documents, where applicable

Step 4: Apply to the PhD Graduate Stream

Now that you have a better understanding of what is the Ontario PhD Graduate stream, you can apply to the Phd Graduate stream.
Remember, you should have applied for an EOI before receiving an ITA to the stream. Don’t forget to review the checklist of supporting documents. You should have these on hand when applying to the stream.

Note that these documents will validate the credentials and information you’ve provided in the registration of your EOI. This is why it’s important for international students in Canada to remain honest and accurate when providing the information in their EOI.

Applying for Permanent Residency in Canada as an International Student Can be Easier than You Think

With the right guidance,applying for permanent residency in Canada as an international student can be a simple process. Therefore, we’ve provided you with a comprehensive guide on the Ontario PhD Graduate stream, ensuring that these steps are practical and realistic.

Alternatively, if you’re an international student wanting to gain permanent residency in Canada, feel free to get in touch with a Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant (RCIC) to advise and guide you through the process.

approved student


1. How do PhD students get PR in Canada?

If you’re an international student in Canada, you can apply for permanent residency through the Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program (OINP). Before you can apply directly to the OINP PhD Graduate stream, you must register an Expression Of Interest (EOI) first.
Thereafter, check that you have the necessary supporting documents which would have to validate the information you provided in your EOI. If you’re an eligible PhD graduate, you do not need a job offer to apply to the stream for permanent residency.

2. How do I submit my EOI for Ontario?

A good place to start is to register an EOI here, create a profile on the OINP e-filing portal and follow the instructions further. Candidates must ensure they’re eligible by knowing the stream requirements before applying. You can only apply to the stream once you’ve registered an EOI. Thereafter, you’ll receive an ITA for a nomination.

3. How many points do you need for EOI?

The system is driven by an expression of interest system to manage applicants. Applicants must score a certain number of points for each scoring factor. This will determine if the candidate will receive an Invitation To Apply (ITA). You will require at least 100 points to be eligible for the stream.