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Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program (OINP) – Ontario’s PNP

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A founding partner of Abramovich & Tchern, Ksenia started her legal career at one of Canada’s top immigration firms, where she operated her own immigration law practice, with a focus on corporate and individual immigration applications.

Home to Toronto, Ontario is one of the most sought after immigration destinations in Canada, known for its diversity and labour market opportunities. The Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program (OINP) is the largest in Canada. The Ontario government is constantly reaching their federal nomination allocation, demonstrating their ability and willingness to integrate permanent residents into their province.

OINP Masters Graduate Stream

The OINP Masters Graduate Stream is a popular, employer-independent stream, meaning that no job offer is required to apply. It is an immensely popular path towards Canadian permanent residency for those who have obtained a Master’s degree in Ontario.

Who Is Eligible To Apply Under The OINP Masters Graduate Stream?

To be considered, the applicant does not need a job offer, but must meet all of the following eight requirements:

  1. Completed at least one academic year of full-time study (at least 15 hours of instruction a week, or the part-time equivalent) from an eligible university in Ontario;
  2. Language tests are at a CLB 7 or higher in all areas;
  3. Applicant must have legally lived in Ontario for at least one year (can be cumulative) within the last two years of application;
  4. Sufficient funds for settlement for themselves and their dependent(s);
  5. Demonstrate intent to live in Ontario;
  6. Must be living either in Ontario with legal status, or outside of Canada at the time of application;
  7. Must have legal status in Canada at the time of application; and
  8. The application must be submitted within two years of completing the master’s degree.

Quotas within this stream are met quite quickly. Building an immigration pathway solely around being issued an invitation under this stream is unwise. It is important to note that many applicants under this category will also have sufficient points to apply under Express Entry, as they will receive 135 points (without spouse) or 126 points (with spouse) with an additional 15 points for their post-secondary education in Canada. Most candidates under the OINP Masters Graduate stream see that their CRS score is close to 470 points, which often meets the cutoff under the federal Express Entry program. The most recent cut-off scores can be found here.

OINP PhD Graduate Stream

The PhD Graduate Stream gives international graduates with an Ontario PhD degree the opportunity to apply to permanently live and work in Ontario, and does not necessarily require a job offer.

Who Is Eligible To Apply Under the PhD Graduate Stream?

To be eligible, applicants:

  • Must have completed the requirements necessary to obtain a PhD degree from an eligible university in Ontario;
  • Must have completed at least two years of those PhD studies while legally living and studying in Ontario;
  • Must not have received a bursary, grant or scholarship that requires them to return to their home country after earning their PhD degree (however, applicants may apply under this stream once they have fulfilled those commitments and can demonstrate an intention to live in Ontario);
  • Must have legally lived in Ontario for at least one year in the past two years before application (the one year of residency can be cumulative);
  • Must have enough money to support themselves and any dependent family members when they settle in Canada;
  • Must intend to live and work in Ontario after permanent residency is granted; and,
  • Must submit the application within two years of completing the requirements necessary to obtain the PhD degree.

Applicants under this stream also must have legal status, such as a visitor record, study permit, or work permit, at time of the application and must maintain that status until the time of nomination.

Note: You may apply if you are in ‘implied status’ at the time of your OINP application submission. ‘Implied status’ means that you submitted an application to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) to renew/extend your temporary status document (a visitor record, work permit, study permit) before its expiry date. You can remain in Canada and continue to work or study under the same conditions as your existing permit until a decision is made on your pending IRCC application.

Applicants may show financial ability to support their residency in Canada through one or a combination of any of the following:

  • Funds as demonstrated by the balance listed in bank statements, or statements of accounts showing other investments such as non-locked in, fixed term deposits, mutual funds, etc.;
  • Annual earnings from ongoing employment in Ontario; and/or
  • A job offer in Ontario.

OINP Employer Job Offer: International Students

The International Student Stream allows international students with a job offer in a NOC 0, A, or B position the opportunity to apply for permanent residence. This stream is also a highly sought-after stream as it allows those with any post-secondary degree with a job offer in Canada a chance at permanent residency. The job offer in question does not need to be supported by an LMIA or recruitment efforts.

There is no employment experience requirement and the wage offered must only meet the low range of the median wage for the NOC in the respective region.  The stream is open to international students who have received education credentials from any recognized Canadian institution, both inside and outside of Canada.

The job offer must meet these requirements:

  • The position must be full-time and permanent (minimum of 1,560 hours a year, equivalent to a minimum of 30 hours a week);
  • In a NOC 0, A, or B position;
  • The hourly wage must meet or be higher than the low wage level for the position;
  • The position must be necessary to the employer’s business; and,
  • The work must be done primarily in Ontario.

The applicant must meet the following requirements:

Have received a two-year degree or diploma OR a one-year degree or diploma that requires a completed degree as an admission requirement from a recognized Canadian institution;

  • Intends to live in Ontario;
  • Has legal status in Canada;
  • The application must be submitted within two-years of completing their degree, diploma, or certificate; and, if applicable,
  • The applicant must have a valid license or authorization to perform the job.

The employer must meet the standard OINP requirements:

  • Have been in business for at least three years prior to submission, have a business premise in Ontario, and have no outstanding orders under the Ontario Employment Standards Act, 2000 or the Occupation Health and Safety Act;
  • Meet minimum revenue requirements (minimum $1,000,000 if applicant is working within the Greater Toronto Area, or minimum of $500,000 if the applicant will be working outside the GTA);
  • Meet the full-time employee requirements (employment must have at least five full-time employees who are Canadian citizens or permanent residents if working from within the GTA, or at least three full-time employees who are Canadian citizens or permanent residents if outside the GTA); and
  • Complete and submit an Employer Form to support the application.

 We often assist recent graduates who are interested in this stream, and have either a valid job offer or valid work authorization in Canada, to meet their permanent residency objectives. We can assist the employer in the preparation of the application, streamlining the processing of the application, allowing you, the international graduate, or the employer, to better focus on your tasks at hand.

OINP Employer Job Offer: In-Demand Skills stream

The In-Demand Skills Stream gives foreign workers with a job offer in specific, high demand occupations the opportunity to apply for permanent residence. Currently, these high demand occupations include agriculture, construction, trucking, or personal support work.

The stream is open to individuals both inside and outside of Canada. The key characteristic of this program is that it can be used by individuals in the NOC C and D categories.

As in the OINP Employer Job Offer: International Students stream, there are requirements that the job offer must meet, as well as the applicant and the employer.

The job offer must fulfill the following requirements:

  • The position must be a full-time and permanent position (minimum of 1,560 hours a year, equivalent to a minimum of 30 hours a week);
  • The position must be in one of the specified NOC C or D occupations;
  • The job offer must meet or be higher than the median wage level for the job within the specific region of Ontario; and,
  • The job/position must also be necessary to the business, and must be based in Ontario.

The applicant must:

  • Have at least nine months of cumulative paid full-time experience (or part-time equivalent) in the same occupation (as the specified NOC code) within three years prior to submission of the application;
  • Have the appropriate license and authorization (if applicable);
  • Meet CLB 4 in all areas of language;
  • Have at least a Canadian secondary school diploma or equivalent;
  • Intend to live in Ontario; and
  • Have legal status in Canada at the time of application.

The employer must meet the following requirements:

  • Have been in business for at least three years prior to submission, have a business premise in Ontario, have no outstanding orders under the Ontario Employment Standards Act, 2000 or the Occupation Health and Safety Act, and demonstrate that there were efforts to recruit a Canadian citizen or permanent resident prior to the applicant if the candidate lives outside of Canada or Ontario;
  • Meet minimum revenue requirements (minimum $1,00,000 if applicant is working within the Greater Toronto Area, or minimum of $500,000 if the applicant will be working outside the GTA);
  • Meet full-time employee requirements (employer must have at least five full-time employees who are Canadian citizens or permanent residents if working from within the GTA, or at least three full-time employees who are Canadian citizens or permanent residents if outside the GTA); and
  • Completed and submitted an Employer Form to support the application.

This stream is highly sought after by those in eligible NOC C and D occupations, as they are traditionally left out of the federal Express Entry draws due to their ineligible occupation.

The requirements for this particular stream are often adjusted to meet the local demands of the economy, with additional positions in the NOC C and D category frequently added to include a broader range of candidates.

Ksenia Tchern

A founding partner of Abramovich & Tchern, Ksenia started her legal career at one of Canada’s top immigration firms, where she operated her own immigration law practice, with a focus on corporate and individual immigration applications.