A recent announcement from the province of Ontario may be of significant interest to candidates for Canadian immigration in the Express Entry pool with close to or more than 400 Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) points, as well as those with adequate-intermediate or better French proficiency.
In a program update posted on its official website on November 24, the Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program (OINP, formerly known as the Opportunities Ontario Provincial Nominee Program, or OOPNP) stated:
Ontario uses Express Entry (EE) to select potential nominees for permanent residence under two Ontario Express Entry Streams.
It has come to our attention that technical issues may have resulted in candidates not receiving Notification of Interest (NOI) though they believe they meet the criteria for Ontario’s Express Entry Streams. If you believe you fall into this category and have not received an NOI within one month of submitting your EE profile, we encourage you to create a new profile in the EE system. If you create a new EE profile, you must delete your old profile.
The two Express Entry Streams referred to by the OINP in the above statement are the Human Capital Priorities Stream and the French-Speaking Skilled Worker Stream, respectively.
When the OINP first provided details of these Streams in June, 2015, it was made clear that Ontario would search the Express Entry pool and identify potential candidates. However, only those who had created an Express Entry profile on or after June 1, 2015 would be in a position to receive what is known as a PT Notification of Interest. The PT Notification of Interest gives candidates the opportunity to make an application for a provincial nomination certificate, with successful applicants receiving an additional 600 CRS points and an Invitation to Apply for Canadian permanent residence at a subsequent draw from the Express Entry pool.
The latest program update effectively revises that original date (June 1) date to November 24 due to the technical issues referred to by the province.
Candidates who register for Express Entry and wish to obtain a PT Notification of Interest must indicate their intent in immigrating to either Ontario or “All Provinces and Territories.” The OINP Streams aligned with Express Entry are passive, in the sense that candidates may only submit an application if they have been invited to do so.
Human Capital Priorities Stream
For its Human Capital Priorities Stream, the OINP searches the Express Entry pool and identifies potential candidates who:
- Have a minimum of 400 CRS points (additional information below);
- Created an Express Entry profile on or after November 24, 2015; and
- Meet other criteria of Ontario’s Human Capital Priorities Stream.
Candidates must also be eligible to enter the pool through either the Federal Skilled Worker Class (FSW) or the Canadian Experience Class (CEC). Candidates who are only eligible to enter the pool through the Federal Skilled Trades Class are not considered for this Stream.
Candidates identified by the OINP receive a PT Notification of Interest from Ontario. From this point, selected candidates have 45 days to apply to the OINP.
One interesting aspect of this Stream is that some Express Entry candidates who fulfil the criteria took note of the OINP program updates and deleted their old profile before creating a new one. This has allowed proactive candidates to receive a PT Notification of Interest.
To be eligible to apply for the Ontario Human Capital Priorities Stream, candidates must meet the following criteria:
• CRS score: All candidates must score a minimum of 400 points under the CRS. The score must remain at or above 400 during both the Ontario nomination processing stage and the federal application for permanent residence processing stage.
• Work Experience: FSW candidates must have a minimum of one year of continuous full-time employment or an equal amount of continuous part-time paid work experience in a National Occupation Classification (NOC) level 0, A, or B occupation in the past five years from the date the PT Notification of Interest is issued. This work experience must have been completed in one specific NOC occupation. CEC candidates are required to have a minimum of one year of cumulative full-time employment (1,560 hours or more) or an equal amount in part-time paid work experience in a NOC 0, A, or B occupation in Canada in the past three years.
• Education: All candidates must have a Canadian Bachelor’s, Master’s or Ph.D. degree or an Educational Credential Assessment (ECA) report produced by a designated organization indicating that their foreign education is equivalent to a Canadian Bachelor’s, Master’s or Ph.D. degree.
• Language Proficiency: All candidates must have a language proficiency level of Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) 7 or higher in all language competencies (reading, writing, listening, and speaking) in either English or French, as supported by language test results from a standardised language test recognised by the governments of Canada and Ontario.
• Settlement Funds: All applicants must possess sufficient to cover settlement costs in Ontario. This must be supported by bank statements.
• Intention to Reside in Ontario: All applicants must intend to reside in Ontario, as demonstrated by a statement of intent and indication of ties to Ontario.
Candidates who fulfil all of the above criteria, except for the requirement to have at least 400 CRS points, may have a couple of options for becoming eligible for the Stream. They can increase their CRS score by improving their language ability in English and/or French, gain additional skilled work experience, complete a study program at a higher education level, or find out whether their CRS score would improve if an accompanying spouse or common-law partner’s factors are added to the profile. Moreover, candidates are also advised to search for a qualifying job offer from a Canadian employer, which may result in an additional 600 CRS points being awarded.
French-Speaking Skilled Worker Stream
The French-Speaking Skilled Worker Stream has the same eligibility criteria as the Human Capital Priorities Stream, except for the following two aspects:
- There is no requirement to have at least 400 CRS points; and
- Candidates must have a minimum of Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) level of 7 in French and CLB 6 in English, as demonstrated by results from standardised language tests recognised by the governments of Canada and Ontario;
While some candidates may, on first glance, be discouraged by the French requirement, a proficiency of CLB 7 is far from indicating perfect fluency. Candidates who studied French in high (secondary) school or have previously been exposed to the language may, with a bit of additional effort and revision, reach adequate-intermediate proficiency and potentially benefit from this Canadian immigration option. The Canada Immigration Language Converter tool allows candidates to compare CLBs with language descriptions and test requirements.
Ontario: Yours to discover
“Whenever I visit Ontario, I am always struck by the slogan written on Ontario vehicle license plates: ‘yours to discover’. Never has such a slogan been so appropriate to its place,” says Attorney David Cohen.
“This is Canada’s most populated province, and it continues to attract more new immigrants than any other province. It is home to the capital city, Ottawa, and the largest city in Canada, Toronto. Indeed, Toronto is one of the most thriving and diverse cities in the world, with half the city’s population having been born outside Canada.
“Not only is Ontario multicultural, economically stable and secure, but its cities and regions are also varied and exciting. It provides employment opportunities in pretty much all sectors and job types and contains some of the most renowned educational institutions in the world. Ontario is a place where people come to succeed in life.”
Ontario quick facts
Provincial capital and largest city: Toronto
National capital: Ottawa
Other major cities: Mississauga, Hamilton, Brampton, London, Windsor, Kitchener, Sudbury, Oshawa, St. Catherines, Barrie, Kingston, Thunder Bay, Timmins.
Population: 13.8 million
Languages: Primarily English, though public services are also required to be provided in French.
Climate: Southern Ontario enjoys the tempering effect of the Great Lakes and is one of Canada’s warmest regions, allowing it to engage in industries such as wine production. Northern Ontario is cooler, with snowy winters. Overall, the climate of Ontario varies significantly depending on the region.
Major industries: Ontario has by far the largest economy in Canada and is the leading province/state in North America for attracting Foreign Direct Investment. The major industries and sectors are manufacturing, construction, mining, minerals, agriculture, forestry, information technology, finance, hospitality, and services.
Employment rate: 92.7%
Major attractions: The Great Lakes, Niagara Falls, CN Tower, Parliament Hill, Rideau Canal, Thousand Islands, Muskoka, Algonquin Provincial Park.
To learn more about your Canadian immigration options through the OINP, or any of over 60 Canadian immigration programs, please fill out a free online assessment today.
Footnote: The 21st Express Entry draw took place on November 27. The CRS point requirement for this draw was 472, representing a 12-point decrease from the previous draw.
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