Canada's tech industry is booming, and Ontario is at the forefront of the action. As a tech worker, you may have heard about the Ontario Tech Pilot (OTP), which offers a path to permanent residency in Canada. But how does it work? What are the eligibility requirements? How do you apply?
In this comprehensive guide, we'll answer all your questions about the OTP so that you can unlock the doors to Canada's booming tech industry.
How Does the Ontario Tech Pilot Work?
The OTP is part of the Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program (OINP), which allows the province to nominate individuals for permanent residency in Canada. The OINP has a specific stream for tech workers known as the OTP.
The OTP works through regular draws, held approximately every two weeks. During each draw, the OINP selects candidates from the pool of eligible applicants who have submitted an Expression of Interest (EOI) to apply for the program. The selected candidates receive a Notification of Interest (NOI) from the OINP and are then invited to submit a full application for permanent residency.
It's important to note that the OTP is not a separate immigration program. Instead, it's a stream within the OINP that targets tech workers with specific skills and experience. This means that to apply for the OTP, you must first meet the eligibility requirements for the OINP.
Eligibility Requirements for the Ontario Tech Pilot
If you plan to apply to the OTP through the Express Entry system, you must ensure you are eligible for Express Entry and the OTP. Express Entry eligibility is based on a Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) score, which measures factors like:
- Work Experience
- Marital Status, and
- Connections to Canada.
One of the best ways to measure your eligibility is to test how you would score on the CRS with our CRS calculator.
However, to be eligible for the OTP, you must meet the following requirements:
- Have a valid job offer from an eligible employer in Ontario.
- Have a Canadian Bachelor's, Master's, or Ph.D. degree or an Educational Credential Assessment (ECA) report from a designated organization showing that your foreign education is equivalent to a Canadian degree.
- Have a language proficiency level of Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) 7 or above in English or French.
- Have sufficient settlement funds to support yourself and any dependents unless you have a valid job offer and are currently working in Ontario
- Intend to live and work in Ontario.
- Have at least two years of work experience in one of the following tech occupations:
|Software engineers and designers
|Computer systems developers and programmers
|Software developers and programmers
|Database analysts and data administrators
|Computer and information systems managers
|Computer engineers (except software engineers and designers)
It's important to note that the OTP is highly competitive, and meeting the minimum requirements does not guarantee an Invitation to Apply (ITA). Therefore, to increase your chances of success, it's important to ensure that your application is complete and accurate and that you meet all the eligibility requirements.
Here are a few strategies to help you ensure you're eligible before you apply:
- Ensure you meet all the eligibility requirements and have the necessary supporting documents.
- Choose an eligible employer in Ontario actively hiring for a tech position. The employer must be able to provide you with a valid job offer and a positive Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA).
- Be prepared to answer questions about your intentions to live and work in Ontario and your settlement funds. Consider researching the cost of living in Ontario and the various communities you may be interested in living in. To help you get a good idea, here's a breakdown of the cost of living in Canada.
Meeting these eligibility requirements is the first step toward applying for the OTP. However, it's important to note that meeting the minimum requirements does not guarantee an ITA for permanent residency.
If you want to see how you can maximize your chances of getting permanent residency through the OTP, you could greatly benefit from a complete eligibility evaluation from a certified immigration professional like a Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant (RCIC). Your full evaluation will help you determine your eligibility and help you to learn which strategies you need to utilize to become a permanent resident of Canada as quickly and easily as possible.
How To Apply to the Ontario Tech Pilot
Step 1: Submit an Expression of Interest EOI
To apply for the OTP, you must submit an Expression of Interest (EOI) through the OINP e-Filing Portal. The EOI is a self-assessment form that asks about your work experience, education, language proficiency, and other factors that will be used to determine your eligibility for the program.
Step 2: Enter the OTP Draw
Once you have submitted your EOI, it will be added to the pool of eligible candidates for the OTP. Approximately every two weeks, the OINP will hold a draw and select candidates from the pool to receive a Notification of Interest (NOI).
Step 3: Submit Your Documentation and Pay Your Fees
If you receive an NOI, you will have 45 days to submit a complete application for permanent residency. When submitting your application, you must provide supporting documents, such as your job offer, language test results, and educational credentials. You will also need to pay an application fee.
The application costs for the human and capital streams will be between $1,500 and $2,000. Learn more about Canada's immigration processing fees here.
Ontario: Canada's Tech Hub
Toronto, Ontario, has become Canada's tech hub due to its rapidly expanding tech industry and workforce. Toronto is now ranked as the third-largest tech hub in North America, after San Francisco and New York City. The city has seen a lot of momentum in recent years, with investors pumping billions of dollars into tech startups. Toronto's tech industry is growing fast enough for The New York Times to describe it as a "quietly booming tech town."
Many startups, VC investors, and global tech giants support Toronto's tech industry. The city's vibrant arts, culture, and sports scene make it an attractive place to live and work. Toronto's tech workforce is estimated to be around 250,000 people, and the city is home to many prestigious universities and research institutions. The city's diverse population also provides a rich talent pool for the tech industry.
Toronto's tech industry is focused on various sectors, including biotechnology, artificial intelligence, and financial technology. The city's tech companies are also working on innovative projects, such as converting food waste into biodegradable plastics using microbe technology. Toronto's tech industry is expected to grow in the coming years, making it an important player in the global tech scene.
Ontario is home to a thriving tech industry, with various job opportunities in various sectors. Some of the top tech jobs in Ontario include:
- Software engineer
- Data analyst
- Web developer
- Cloud Architect
- IT project manager
In addition to these roles, there are opportunities in emerging tech industries, such as artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, and fintech.
The OTP is designed to support the growth of the tech industry in the province by attracting and retaining skilled workers. By applying for the program, you can take advantage of the many job opportunities available in Ontario's tech industry.
If you want to learn more about Ontario before you start your process, here’s a quick introduction to life in Ontario:
What is the Processing Time for the OTP?
The processing time for the OTP varies depending on several factors, including the volume of applications received and the complexity of each application. However, find out more about Canada’s immigration processing times here.
Can I Apply for the OTP if I Live and Work in Canada?
You can apply for the OTP if you live and work in Canada. However, you must still meet all the eligibility requirements, including a valid job offer from an eligible employer in Ontario.
Can I Apply for the OTP if I Don't Have a Job Offer?
You can only apply for the OTP if you have a job offer from an eligible employer in Ontario. However, there may be other immigration programs that you are eligible for. Here are a few ways to immigrate to Canada without a job offer.
Can my Family Accompany me to Canada if I'm Approved for the OTP?
Yes, your spouse, common-law partner, and any dependent children can come to Canada if you're approved for the OTP.
Could Ontario be Your Next Step?
The OTP is a great opportunity for tech workers interested in living and working in Canada. By meeting the eligibility requirements and submitting a successful application, you can take advantage of the many job opportunities available in Ontario's thriving tech industry.
Remember to follow the tips for success, and if you have any questions, schedule a consultation with an immigration professional like an RCIC. They can expertly navigate the Canadian immigration system to maximize your chances of living and working in Ontario's booming tech industry.