New Immigration Opportunities for Graduates through Ontario

CIC News
Published: February 21, 2017

Many international graduates from publicly-funded universities in Ontario now have a further option for permanent immigration. The International Student — Masters Graduate and International Student — PhD Graduate streams of the Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program (OINP) reopened on February 21, 2017. This is the first time these two streams have opened since a temporary pause took effect on May 9, 2016.

In reopening these two streams that target talented and highly-educated individuals, the Ontario government is recognizing that international graduates are desirable as future newcomers to the province. Having already established themselves in the province through their studies, and in many cases through employment, international graduates may find themselves in a prime position to settle and integrate successfully into Ontario's labour market and society.


One of the most attractive characteristics of these OINP streams is that a candidate does not require a job offer in order to be eligible. Moreover, a candidate does not have to be residing in Ontario at the time of application. While this was previously the case for candidates under the International PhD Graduate category, it represents a new and more relaxed criterion for International Masters Graduate candidates.

Previously, candidates under this latter stream were required to be living in Ontario at the time of application. International PhD Graduate candidates may be residing anywhere in Canada or outside Canada; International Masters Graduate candidates may be residing outside Canada (however, if they are residing in Canada but outside Ontario, they are not eligible to apply).

Successful applicants to these two streams receive a 'base' provincial nomination certificate, putting them in a position to submit an application for permanent residence to the federal government. The term 'base' refers to the fact that the streams are not aligned with the federal Express Entry system, but still provide a route to Canadian permanent resident status.

Another popular stream of the OINP, the Express Entry Human Capital Priorities Stream, also reopened on February 21. This stream issues Notifications of Interest to candidates in the Express Entry pool whose profiles meet the province's requirements. To learn more about the opening of the Human Capital Priorities Stream, consult this comprehensive article.

New online application process

The government of Ontario has introduced an online application system, with the goal of making it easier to apply while also improving customer service and processing times. Applicants to the International Masters Graduate and International PhD Graduate streams may submit an application online as of February 21.

Eligibility requirements

International Masters Graduates PhD Graduates
Must intend to live and work in Ontario Must intend to live and work in Ontario
Must have graduated from an existing Master's program at an eligible publicly funded university in Ontario

  • The program of study must have been at least one year in length and must have been completed on a full-time basis
Must have successfully completed all PhD program requirements at an eligible publicly-funded university in Ontario

  • At least two years of PhD studies must have been completed at the Ontario university
Must submit the application within two years of the date on which the Masters degree was granted Must submit the application within two years of the date on which the PhD was granted
Must have legal status (i.e. study permit, work permit, visitor record) if living in Ontario at the time of the application

  • Applicants may be living outside Canada at the time of application; however, individuals living in Canada but outside Ontario are ineligible to apply
  • Candidates do not need to have legal status in Canada if they are applying from outside Canada
Must have legal status (i.e. study permit, work permit, visitor record) if living in Canada at the time of the application

  • Applicants to this stream do not have to be living in Canada at the time of application
  • Candidates do not need to have legal status in Canada if they are applying from outside Canada
Must demonstrate an adequate intermediate proficiency level in English or French of Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) 7 or above in all four competencies (speaking, reading, writing, and listening)
Must be able to show a minimum level of savings and/or income in order to support themselves and their dependents
Must show that they have resided in Ontario for at least 12 cumulative months in the 24 months before submitting an application

International students and post-graduate workers in Canada can join the CanadaVisa Study Hub to access a range of tools and resources to assist in studying, working, and settling in Canada permanently.

To learn more about your Canadian immigration options through the OINP, as well as other Canadian immigration programs, please fill out a free online assessment today.

© 2017 CICnews All Rights Reserved

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