Ontario is the most populous province in Canada, approximately 40 percent of Canadians live there. The province is home to Ottawa, Canada's capital city, as well as Toronto, the country's largest city and primary business and financial centre. Ontario is the economic, social and political heartland of Canada. It is by far the most popular destination in Canada for new immigrants from around the world, making it the most multicultural province in the country. The province includes more than 125 spoken languages and people from over 200 different countries.The easiest way to immigrate to Ontario is with a provincial nomination under the Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program (OINP).

The Ontario INP is designed to give select foreign nationals, interested in immigrating to Ontario, the opportunity to apply for Canadian permanent residence through an expedited process. Formerly called the Opportunities Ontario Provincial Nominee Program (OOPNP), the program is designed for prospective immigrants who possess the specific skills and experience needed in the province. There are two different ways to go about getting nominated by the OINP. Outside of Express Entry, a potential immigrant can contact Immigration Ontario and apply to the OINP directly. If given a provincial nomination, he or she can then create a Canada Express Entry profile and add their nomination credentials.

Prospective immigrants can also begin the process by creating an Express Entry profile and registering their interest in the province within the system. The OINP can then contact the person through Express Entry and formally invite them to apply to the immigration program. This will instantaneously increase their score under the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) by 600 points. The person will likely then have enough Canada Express Entry CRS points to receive an Invitation to Apply (ITA) during the next Express Entry draw, which takes place every few weeks.

Ontario Provincial Nominee Program

The basic idea behind the Ontario INP is simple, it facilitates the immigration process of qualified non-Canadian nationals and accompanying family members (spouse, common-law partner and children) to the province. Those accepted by the program are set on a fast track to Canada as a provincial nominee within the Express Entry system.

In addition to providing opportunities to qualified immigrants, the program is also designed to contribute to job creation, job retention and economic development. Naturally, this happens in a number of different ways depending on the specific nominee and the specific category they fall under, for instance, the Entrepreneur Category is aimed at attracting new financial investment in order to further economic development in the province.

Finally, the OINP is designed to support government priorities through the immigration of qualified professionals in the healthcare and education sectors in particular. With that being said, the program is primarily employer-driven. What this means for you, a prospective nominee, is that you can only apply to the program if your employer is pre-screened. The position also needs to be preapproved and the employer needs to provide a nominee application package from the Ontario INP.

Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program Streams

There are 3 categories, with various subcategories that those interested in the Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program can apply for.

Ontario INP Categories

Employer Job Offer Category
  • International Student Stream
  • In-Demand Skills Stream
  • Foreign Worker Stream
Human Capital Category
  • Masters Graduate Stream
  • PhD Graduate Stream
  • Express Entry Human Capital Priorities Stream
  • Express Entry French-Speaking Skilled Worker Stream
  • Express Entry Skilled Trades Stream
Business Category
  • Entrepreneur Stream
  • Corporate Stream
  • Investors Stream

Each Ontario INP category has its own set of requirements to determine who can qualify. These categories are discussed at great length below. Our guidance will help you decide whether the Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program is right for you.

1. Ontario’s Employer Job Offer Category

This category gives employers the ability to employ and keep skilled labourers and international students in the province. If you want to apply for any of the streams under this category, you must a valid, full-time, permanent job offer from an employer in Ontario.

Under the Employer Job Offer Category, the employer who offers you the job and the particular job offer needs to meet several requirements as well.

The employer must:

Have been in business for a minimum of three years;
Have business premises in the province. This must be the same premises where you will work;
Be in line with all the legal requirements set out in the Ontario Employment Standards Act and the Occupational Health and Safety Act;
Have a minimum of $1,000,000 gross annual revenue and have five full-time employees who are either Canadian citizens or permanent residents, if the employer is inside the Greater Toronto Area; and
Have a minimum of $500,000 gross annual revenue and have three full-time employees who are either Canadian citizens or permanent residents, if the employer is outside of the Greater Toronto Area

The job must:

Be in a permanent, full-time position;
Meet the average salary level of the job in Ontario;
Offer you a higher salary or the same salary, if you are already working for the employer in the position;
Be in the NOC code 0, A or B if you are applying through the Foreign Worker with a Job Offer Stream or the International Student with a Job Offer Stream;
Be in the NOC code C or D if you are applying through the In-Demand Skills Stream;
Not have any effect on the settlement of a labour dispute or a person involved in such a labour dispute;
Be needed by the employer’s business, meaning that all of the job duties must be related to the normal business activities of the company; and
Have all of its anticipated employment activities primarily occurring in the province

International Student Stream

If you choose to apply for the International Student Stream, you must make sure that your offer of employment is for a full-time, permanent position in a skilled occupation listed on the National Occupation Classification (NOC) level 0, A or B. The job must also meet Ontario’s standard wage level for the occupation.

To be eligible for this stream you must:

Have a tertiary qualification from a recognized Canadian institution that took a minimum of two years to complete; or
Have a tertiary postgraduate qualification from a recognized Canadian institution that took a minimum of one year to complete;
Have completed at least half of your studies in Canada. You must have already graduated or be graduating soon from a publicly funded college or university in Canada;
Have submitted your application no later than two years after the date that you received their Canadian degrees or diplomas. It can be submitted as early as the last semester of your studies; and
Have legal status like a work or study permit if you are living in Canada

In-demand Skills Stream

You can only apply for this stream if you have a job offer that meets the following criteria:

  • The job must be for a full-time, permanent position in agriculture or construction;
  • The salary must meet the industry average for the occupation in Ontario; and
  • The job must be listen in the following NOC Skill Level C or D:
    • NOC 7441 – Residential and commercial installers and servicers;
    • NOC 7521 – Heavy equipment operators (except crane);
    • NOC 8431 – General farm workers;
    • NOC 8432 – Nursery and greenhouse workers;
    • NOC 8611 – Harvesting labourers;
    • NOC 7611 – Construction trades helpers and labourers;
    • NOC 9462 – Industrial butchers, meat cutters, poultry preparers, related workers.

In addition to the above criteria, you must also meet certain standard requirements set for foreign workers.

The standard requirements for foreign workers are:

Work Experience - You must at least have one year of work experience in Ontario accumulated within the three years before you applied. The job must have been a paid position in an occupation listed in the above NOC codes;
Education - You must have at least completed high school;
Valid Certificate or Licence - You must have all the certification and licensure needed to perform the work’s duties;
Language - You must at least have CLB level 4 for either French or English in reading, writing, listening and speaking;
Settlement Funds - You must have enough money to settle you and your dependents in the province;
Intent - You must have the intention to live in Ontario
Legal Status in Canada - You must have legal status in Canada if you are living in Canada already from when you apply

Foreign Worker Stream

You can only apply under this stream if you have an offer for a full-time, permanent job listed in NOC level 0, A or B. The job must also meet the wage standards of Ontario for the occupation.

In addition to a job offer meeting the above requirements, you must also have:

At least two years of work experience accumulated within the five years before you applied. The job must be listed in the above NOC codes and it must be the same as the new job offer you received;
The licensing needed to fulfill the jobs duties;
The intention to live in the province; and
Legal status in Canada if you are living in Canada already from when you apply

2. Human Capital Category

Under this category you will find the most streams, including three Express Entry options to Ontario. Through this program, employers are able to quickly meet the human resources they need to grow and maintain their business.

Masters Graduates Stream

If you obtained a Master's Degree at a university in Ontario and would like to live and work in the province this is the stream for you. You don’t even need a job offer in order to qualify for the Masters Graduates Stream.

To apply under this category you must:

Have the intention to live and work in Ontario;
Have graduated from an existing Masters program at an eligible publicly funded university in Ontario;
Have completed one academic year on a full-time basis;
Have submitted your application no later than two years from the date of completion of your Master's degree. It can be submitted during your last semester of study in the program;
Currently be residing in Ontario with legal status. Refugee claimants and asylum seekers are not eligible;
Have high proficiency in English or French;
Have a minimum level of savings or income. It must be enough to support you and your dependents; and
Have resided in Ontario for at least one full year during the past two years

PhD Graduate Stream

If you obtained a PhD at a tertiary institution in Ontario, you can apply to live and work in the province permanently. You can apply for the PhD Graduate Stream even if you do not have a job offer.

To apply under this category you must:

Have legal status if you are already living in Canada;
Have submitted your application no later than two years from the date you received your PhD;
Have graduated from an existing PhD program, successfully completed all of the degree requirements for the program or have at least completed two years of PhD studies at an eligible publicly funded university in Ontario;
Have enough funds to settle you and your dependents in the province;
Have lived in the province for a minimum of one year within the last two years before applying; and
Have the intention to live and work in the province

Some university programs require that you may have to return to your home country or a jurisdiction outside of Ontario once you have completed your studies. If that is the case, as a result of grants, scholarships or subsidies, you cannot apply for the Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program until all of your obligations have been met. In other words, you will need to return to your home country first and only then can you apply to one of the Ontario INP streams.

Express Entry Human Capital Priorities Stream

Your eligibility for this stream is dependent on both federal and provincial criteria. Both of these sets of requirements need to be satisfied if you would like to apply under this stream.

In terms of the federal requirements, you must:

  • Have a valid profile in the Express Entry pool;
  • Be eligible for the Canadian Experience Class (CEC) or Federal Skilled Worker Program;
  • Indicate that you have an interest in immigrating to Ontario when you create your Express Entry profile; and
  • Have received a Notification of Interest from Ontario

In addition to meeting the federal requirements you must also the provincial criteria, these include:

Work Experience:
  • You must have at least one year of work experience within the previous five years that is line with the requirements of the Federal Skilled Workers Program; or
  • You must have at least one year within the previous three years that is line with the requirements of the Canadian Experience Class
Education:
  • You must at least have a bachelor's degree or above
Language:
  • You must at least have a CLB score of 7 in either French or English
Settlement Funds:
  • You must have enough money to settle you and your dependents in the province
Intent:
  • You must intend to live and work in Ontario
Legal Status:
  • If you are already living in Canada, you must have the the legal status to do so
Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) Score:
  • Up to the discretion of the Director of the OINP

Express Entry French-Speaking Skilled Worker Stream

The Ontario INP French-Speaking Skilled Worker stream is aligned with Canada's Express Entry selection system and enables prospective immigrants that speak French to move to Ontario. Your eligibility for this stream is dependent on both federal and provincial criteria. Both of these sets of requirements need to be satisfied if you would like to apply under this stream.

In terms of the federal requirements, you must:

  • Have a valid profile in the Express Entry pool;
  • Be eligible for the Canadian Experience Class (CEC) or Federal Skilled Worker Program;
  • Indicate that you have an interest in immigrating to Ontario when you create your Express Entry profile; and
  • Have received a Notification of Interest from Ontario

You may be eligible for the OINP French-Speaking Skilled Worker Stream if you satisfy all the criteria below.

Applicant Requirements

Education - Candidates must possess a Bachelor's degree, Master's degree, or PhD from a Canadian institution or the same from a foreign school along with an Educational Credential Assessment (ECA) indicating that the education is equivalent to a Canadian degree.
French Language Ability - Applicants must have a Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) level of 7 or higher in French and 6 or higher in English, which must be demonstrated by the Government of Canada and an Ontario approved standardized language test.
Work Experience - Candidates applying through the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP) must have at least 1 year of paid work experience in an NOC level 0, A, or B occupation in the past 60 months. Candidates applying through the Canadian Experience Class (CEC) must have a minimum of one year, full-time employment in an NOC 0, A, or B level occupation in the past 36 months.
Intention - All immigrants applying through this OINP stream must intend to reside in the province and should demonstrate this intention through a statement of intent and proof of ties to Ontario.
Settlement Money - Applicants should have enough money to adequately settle in the province. These funds should be supported by bank statements.
Legal Status - If you are already living in Canada, you must have the the legal status to do so.

Express Entry Skilled Trades Stream

Your eligibility for this stream is dependent on both federal and provincial criteria. Both of these requirements need to be satisfied if you would like to apply under this stream.

In terms of the federal requirements, you must:

  • Have a valid profile in the Express Entry pool;
  • Be eligible for the Canadian Experience Class (CEC) or Federal Skilled Worker Program;
  • Indicate that you have an interest in immigrating to Ontario when you create your Express Entry profile; and
  • Have received a Notification of Interest from Ontario

In addition to meeting the federal requirements you must also the provincial criteria, these include:

Trade Certification - You must have the proper certification or licensure needed to properly fulfill the duties of the job. This requirement is only relevant if the particular job does need some form of certification.
Language - You must at least have a CLB score of 7 in either French or English.
Work Experience - You must have at least one year of full-time work experience in Ontario within the last two years from the date you received your Notification of Interest from Ontario. The work experienced must also be in a job listed in Minor Group 633 or Major Group 72, 73 or 82 of the NOC system.
Intention - You must intend to live and work in Ontario.
Settlement Funds - You must have enough money to settle you and your dependents in the province.
Legal Status - If you are already living in Canada, you must have the the legal status to do so.

3. Business Category

In the fall of 2015, the Ontario investor program was officially closed and two new OINP categories were introduced - the Ontario entrepreneur program, and the Ontario business program for corporations. Ontario investor immigration applications received by October 29, 2015, will be processed normally, but no new investor category applications will be accepted by the OINP after this date. Consequently, people interested in business immigration to Ontario should consider the new OINP Entrepreneur Stream or Corporate Stream.

Entrepreneur Stream

The Entrepreneur stream is designed to help foreigners buy a business in the province or to help create a brand new Ontario company. Once the business has been established, entrepreneurs can then be nominated by Immigration Ontario for Canadian permanent residency under the OINP Entrepreneur stream. In order to qualify for the Ontario Nominee Program Entrepreneur stream, a list of requirements must be met.

When opening a new business in Ontario, or buying an existing business, the entrepreneur must own and control at least a 33.3% equity share in the endeavour in order to qualify under this Ontario INP. As part of the application process, the viability of the business plan will be assessed by officials of Immigration Ontario. A performance agreement, outlining key investment and job creation commitments that need to be met within 2 years, will also be required in order for the OINP to proceed with a provincial nomination. Please note: the Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program considers businesses to be located in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) if they are in the City of Toronto or in the Durham, Halton, Peel, or York regions.

Corporate Stream

The Corporate Stream application is a two-stage process. Please review the process overview before applying which can be found here. Additional information about each step of the application process is provided in the Corporate Stream Application Guide.

You may be eligible for this program if you have a viable business activity that will bring significant economic benefit to Ontario. If the Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program (OINP) approves your proposal, your key staff may apply for a temporary work permit in order to establish the business.

Your corporation and your key staff must meet all eligibility criteria in order to qualify under the Corporate Stream. A decision will be made based on an assessment of all parties.

Investors Stream (Permanently Closed)

This category is designed to give companies who make an investment in Ontario the ability to recruit and retain important employees. The program allows these important employees to immigrate to Canada, ensuring the company's investment in the process. All applicants must be integral to the functioning of the company in question.

Simply put, investments must be of significant importance to Ontario to qualify under the Investors Category. They must also create new jobs for Ontarians. Furthermore, new investments and expansions to current operations are also eligible.

Apply For an Ontario INP For Your Canadian Immigration

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