The Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program is a system through which the Ontario government nominates people to immigrate to Ontario. OINP is a Provincial Nominee Program (it is also referred to as the Ontario PNP). PNPs are a system of programs for helping foreign workers find homes in Canadian provinces. They are regulated at the provincial level as well as by the federal government.

Other examples of related programs include the Manitoba PNP and the British-Columbia PNP

Ways to Immigrate to Ontario

New immigrants have the option of being sponsored by family if you have relatives already in Canada, or if you are starting your journey to Ontario as a student. These immigration methods do not work for everyone, and many people choose to attempt to directly enter the Ontario workforce. While Ontario likes to maintain a steady foreign worker stream, meeting the eligibility requirements to receive provincial nomination is not always easy. If you wish to become a permanent resident of Ontario, you’ll need to use one of the following methods:

  • Express Entry
  • Provincial Nomination
  • Business Class Immigration

Here’s some more information on each of these methods.

Express Entry

Express Entry is a federal program, meaning it is managed by the Canadian federal government, not the provincial governments. You can immigrate to Ontario through this program, even though Ontario doesn’t specifically manage it. 

All Express Entry candidates will first need to make an Express Entry Profile through the IRCC website. Filling out your profile will determine if you are eligible for Express Entry and establish your Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) score. You earn points for your skills and education, as well as your spouse’s if applicable. You earn additional points for things like advanced degrees, having family already in Canada, and having existing job offers.

You do not need an offer of employment to be approved for Express Entry, however, it definitely gives you a better chance at success. Successful applicants usually need a CRS score of around 450 to immigrate through Express Entry. If your language scores are lower or your education is not as comprehensive, the Provincial Nomination Program might be a better option for you.

Provincial Nomination

Ontario’s PNP is called the ‘Ontario Immigrant Nomination Program’ (OINP). You can receive a nomination for this program if you possess skills and experiences that Ontario happens to need at the time of nomination. For example, if Ontario needs construction site managers but there aren’t enough Canadian construction site managers to fill the roles, the OINP program can nominate construction site managers from the pool of OINP applicants.

You must have a job offer to enter through the Foreign Worker Stream under the OINP program. Green Light Canada can help you receive a job offer as we work closely with many companies in the trades who are looking for skilled foreign workers. We can also help you create a plan to improve your Comprehensive Ranking System score.

Business Immigration

If you are an entrepreneur from outside of Canada looking to implement a new business idea or purchase or expand an existing Canadian business, the Entrepreneur Stream might be right for you. 

You must begin this process by writing an expression of interest (EOI) which will be scored. Your EOI will have information about you personally, as well as your company or business concept. If you move into the next stage of the application process, you will need to validate any claims made in your EOI with appropriate paperwork. You will also officially apply at that time.

Your EOI will be compared to other EOIs in the existing pool so there is no score that can guarantee you a nomination. Working with consultants to make your score as high as possible is the best way to earn a chance to apply.

Why Choose the Ontario Provincial Nominee Program

Many foreign nationals will look at Ontario when they consider immigrating to Canada. It is the most populous province in Canada with over 13 million people in total. It’s also home to Toronto, the largest city in Canada.

Ontario is an excellent place for new immigrants. It has a mild climate compared to most of Canada and is very culturally diverse. This allows people of different nationalities and backgrounds to maintain their cultural identity. Ontario also has a diverse economy with plenty of jobs in production, finance, commerce, and the arts.

You can apply for the OINP through one of these categories, as described by the Ontario Immigration Act:

  • General Category
  • International Student Stream
  • Business Category
  • Ontario Corporate Stream
  • Ontario Entrepreneur Stream
  • Human Capital Priorities Stream
  • French-Speaking Skilled Worker Stream

Below we’ll take a closer look at each of these categories.

General Category  

To comply with the requirements, an applicant must:

  • Live outside Canada
  • Live in Canada with legal status
  • Have a job offer as a potential immigrant worker in Ontario with Skill Type 0 (managerial occupations) or Skill Level A (professional occupations) or B (technical occupations and skilled trades) on the Canadian National Occupational Classification (NOC)
  • Have an employer that is pre-screened and approved by Opportunities Ontario. The position requirements are also strictly regulated

For this category, the employer must nominate the candidate, and the candidate cannot apply on their own.

International Student Stream

The International Students Category of the Ontario PNP is a broader category that includes:

International Student with a Job Offer Stream

To comply with the requirements, a foreign worker must:

  • Show a valid job offer from a Canadian employer (who also must this job offer to Opportunities Ontario for approval, and the offer must remain valid during the application’s processing time)
    • The employer job offer does not need to be in the same field as the degree or diploma
  • Have already graduated, or are graduating soon from an accredited college or university in Ontario (Must have completed at least half of their education in Canada)
  • Apply within 2 years of graduating 

International Ph.D. Graduate Stream

To comply with the requirements, you must:

  • Have completed a Ph.D. program at an accredited Canadian university
  • Have legal status in Canada
  • Have a high proficiency in English or French
  • Apply within 2 years of graduating

Individuals applying in this stream do not need to present a job offer to be eligible.

International Masters Graduate Stream

To comply with the requirements, you must:

  • Show intention to live and work in Ontario
  • Complete at least one year of full-time education in a Masters program at an accredited university in Ontario
  • Be currently residing in Ontario with a legal status
  • Have a high proficiency in English or French
  • Meet a minimum level of income

This program has a limited annual quota. Students who apply do not need to present an employer job offer.

Business Category  

The Business Category of the Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program (OINP) was created with the goal to boost the economy, create new business opportunities for companies already operating in Ontario, and create more jobs in the province as well as encourage international corporations to start or increase business operation in Ontario. It includes Ontario Entrepreneur Stream and Ontario Corporate Stream.  

Ontario Entrepreneur Stream

The Ontario Entrepreneur Stream was designed to help foreign investors to look and create new businesses in Ontario. Once the business is established and has a proven record of success, the entrepreneurs can be nominated under OINP for Ontario permanent residency.

The OINP Entrepreneur Stream qualification for PR nomination:

  • Each nominee must invest a minimum 500,000 CAD in business in Ontario, with the minimum of 1 million CAD if the business is located in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) with the exception of the businesses involved in digital media or information and communications technology.  
  • Each potential nominee must have an 800,000 CAD minimum net worth with the required minimum of 1,500,000 for the GTA unless the business is involved in digital media or ICT industry.
  • The minimum requirement for job creation is 2 full time employment positions for Canadian citizens or permanent residents for a business located within the GTA, or 1 position if the business is located outside the GTA or in the ICT/Digital Communications sector.
  • The entrepreneur must have a minimum of 2 years of senior management or business ownership experience in the last 60 months to be eligible for the program.
  • The entrepreneur must own or control at least 33% of equity share in the business created.
  • The viability of the business will be assessed by Immigration Ontario officials based on a preliminarily drafted performance agreement.
  • The candidate has 2 years within which he has to complete the program.
  • The candidate must be actively involved, on an ongoing basis, in the management of the business.
  • The candidate must not invest the capital for the primary purpose of deriving interest, dividends or capital gains.
  • The candidate must have visited Ontario within the last 12 months from the date of registering.

Ontario Corporate Stream

Through the Ontario Corporate Stream, essential employees are nominated for permanent residence status once the company is set up.

The corporation is required to:

  • Invest $5,000,000+ in the new or existing Ontario based businesses
  • Have a minimum of 5 full-time jobs, and employ Canadian citizens or permanent residents

Additionally:

  • Employees seeking OINP nomination under this category must be employed by the corporation and be essential to company operations in Ontario.
  • The nominated employees have to pass the English/French proficiency test within 2 years.
  • The business has to be established and operate successfully within 3 years. 

The employees may obtain two-year Temporary Work Status from CIC Canada allowing them to establish a business in Ontario before being nominated for permanent resident status. The corporation will be subject to the Performance Agreement established by OINP that outlines performance commitments and time-frames for the Ontario branch. There is a limit to a maximum of 5 people who can be nominated under this OINP stream for each business purchased or created by a foreign corporation in Ontario.

Human Capital Priorities Stream

This stream allows the province of Ontario to select potential candidates for PR status from the Express Entry Pool that meet the requirements in work training and experience, language, and other skills considered to be able to add value to the Ontario Labor market. The candidates for the program are selected by OINP through Express Entry Profiles that have indicated Ontario as a preferred province for immigration and have a CRS minimum score of at least 400 points. The candidates that fully match the criteria will receive Notification of Interest. In their turn, they will have 45 days to apply for the OINP.   

Human Capital Priorities Stream qualification requirements for OINP:

  • Work experience – minimum of 12 months of full time employment in NOC level 0, A or B, or equivalent amount of part-time work;
  • Education – Bachelor’s, Master’s, Ph.D., or equivalent confirmed by ECA report;
  • Language proficiency – Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) 7 confirmed by standardized language test recognized by the Government of Ontario;
  • Intention to Live in Ontario;
  • Must have a sufficient amount of funds confirmed by bank statements.

French-Speaking Skilled Worker Stream

This program has been designed to attract more French-speaking skilled workers with strong English language abilities.

The OINP can nominate those candidates who have a valid profile in the Federal Express Entry pool, and meet the requirements of skilled work experience, education, and settlement funds.  

Knowing which program is right for you can be difficult. You want to give yourself the best chance at successful immigration. Contact our expert immigration consultants at Green Light Canada if you are interested in immigrating and working  in Ontario.