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

Ontario is one of Canada's most populous and economically active provinces, with a diverse range of industries and a strong demand for skilled workers. To help meet the province's economic and labour needs, the Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program (PNP) offers several streams for immigration to Ontario, including the Ontario PhD Graduate Stream. This stream is designed to attract international graduates with PhD degrees who have the skills and experience to contribute to Ontario's economy and labour market. In this article, we'll provide an overview of the Ontario PhD Graduate Stream and outline the application process in four simple steps.

What is Ontario’s PhD Graduate Stream?

What is Ontario’s PhD Graduate Stream?

Ontario’s PhD Graduate Stream is a program designed for international graduates who have obtained a PhD degree from an eligible Ontario university. This program allows graduates to apply for permanent residency in Ontario, Canada. To be eligible for this stream, you must have completed all the degree requirements for your PhD program and must have received your degree within the past two years. Additionally, you must also meet the program's language requirements, demonstrate financial stability, and have legal status in Canada.

To apply for the PhD Graduate Stream, the first step is to register in the OINP’s Expression of Interest System. After registering, you will need to wait for an invitation to apply. Once you receive the invitation, you will have 45 calendar days to submit an application online. The application process will require you to submit various documents, including your academic transcripts, proof of language proficiency, and a settlement plan. The OINP will review your application and assess your eligibility for the program.

If your application is approved, you will receive a nomination from the Ontario government, which means that you have been selected to apply for permanent residency. After receiving the nomination, you will then need to submit an application to the federal government through Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC). The IRCC will conduct security and medical checks and make the final decision on your permanent residency application.

It is important to note that the Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program (OINP) has implemented the National Occupational Classification (NOC) 2021 system, as required by the federal government. This means that any new documents or registrations submitted to the OINP must reflect the new federal NOC 2021 system.

Apply to Ontario’s PhD Graduate Stream in 4 Steps

Step 1: Check Your Eligibility

Before you apply for the Ontario PhD Graduate Stream, you'll need to ensure that you meet the program's eligibility criteria. This includes having a PhD degree from an eligible institution and having completed at least two years of full-time study in Ontario. You'll also need to demonstrate proficiency in either English or French and have sufficient funds to support yourself and any dependents during your stay in Ontario. Here is a list of requirements you’ll have to meet:

  • Receiving an invitation to apply and submitting the application within the specified deadline.
  • Demonstrating possession of the qualifications claimed in the expression of interest registered with the OINP.
  • Completing all requirements necessary to obtain a PhD degree from an eligible university in Ontario.
  • Completing at least two years of PhD studies while legally living and studying in Ontario.
  • Not receiving a bursary, grant, or scholarship that requires the return to the home country after earning the PhD degree.
  • Legally living in Ontario for a minimum of one year within the past two years before submitting the application.
  • Demonstrating sufficient settlement funds to support oneself and any dependent family members upon settling in Canada.
  • Demonstrating intention to live and work in Ontario after being granted permanent residence.
  • Having legal status (a visitor record, study permit, or work permit) if applying from within Canada.
  • Submitting the application within two years of completing the requirements necessary to obtain the PhD degree.

Step 2: Apply to the Ontario PhD Graduate Stream

Once you've confirmed your eligibility, you can begin the application process for the Ontario PhD Graduate Stream. This involves submitting an online application to the Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program and providing documentation to support your eligibility. You'll also need to pay a non-refundable fee of $1,500 CAD.

Step 3: Receive a Nomination from Ontario

If your application is successful, you'll receive a nomination from the Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program. This nomination will allow you to apply for permanent residency in Canada through the federal government's Express Entry system. You'll receive an additional 600 Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) points for your nomination, which will greatly increase your chances of receiving an Invitation to Apply (ITA) for permanent residency.

Step 4: Apply for Permanent Residency

With your nomination in hand, you can now apply for permanent residency in Canada through Express Entry. This involves submitting a complete application for permanent residency, including all required documentation and fees. If your application is approved, you and your family members will become permanent residents of Canada and be able to enjoy all the benefits of living and working in Ontario.

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

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 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.

PhD Graduate Stream Scoring Factors

PhD Graduate Stream 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.

Employment / Labour Market Factors

Duration-Cumulative, full-time or part-time equivalent.

  • 12 Months or more – 4 points
  • Less than 12 months – 0 points
Canadian work experience: NOC TEER level
  • NOC TEER 1 – 3 points
  • NOC TEER 2 – 0 points
  • NOC TEER 3 – 0 points
  • NOC  TEER 4 – 0 points
  • NOC S TEER 5 – 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

  • 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:

  • 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
  • Why Choose Ontario

    If you're considering pursuing a PhD in Canada, Ontario should be at the top of your list. With its excellent universities, top-notch research facilities, and strong economy, Ontario is an ideal destination for students looking to advance their academic and professional careers.

    One of the primary reasons to choose Ontario for your PhD studies is the quality of its academic institutions. Ontario is home to some of the best universities in Canada and the world, including the University of Toronto, the University of Waterloo, and McMaster University. These universities offer a wide range of PhD programs across various disciplines, providing students with access to cutting-edge research and world-renowned faculty members.

    Moreover, Ontario has a strong economy and is home to many of Canada's leading industries, including technology, healthcare, and finance. This means that there are excellent job opportunities for PhD graduates, both in academia and industry. Many of the universities in Ontario have close ties to local businesses and industries, which provides students with opportunities for internships, co-op placements, and research collaborations.

    In addition to the academic and job opportunities, Ontario also offers a streamlined immigration process through the Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program (OINP) PhD Graduate Stream. This program allows international PhD graduates from eligible Ontario universities to apply for permanent residency in Ontario without needing a job offer.

    The PhD Graduate Stream provides a pathway for highly skilled international students to stay in Ontario and contribute to the province's economy and research community. By choosing to pursue a PhD in Ontario and taking advantage of the PhD Graduate Stream, you can enhance your academic and professional credentials while also increasing your chances of becoming a permanent resident of Canada.

    Stay in Ontario

    Stay in Ontario

    If you're an international student dreaming of becoming a permanent resident in Canada, we've got good news for you. It may not be as complicated as you think, especially if you get the right guidance. We've put together a helpful guide on the Ontario PhD Graduate stream that lays out the steps in a practical and realistic way. But if you'd rather leave the paperwork to the pros, consider reaching out to a Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant (RCIC) who can give you personalized advice and support throughout the process.


    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.

    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.

    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.