One of the most popular Express Entry-aligned Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) streams for immigration to Canada, Ontario’s Human Capital Priorities (HCP) stream, is now accepting applications. The OINP also expects to issue new Notifications of Interest (NOIs) to eligible candidates in the Express Entry pool before the end of 2017.
News of the HCP stream reopening was provided by immigration authorities in Ontario on Thursday, November 2.
This stream is a major component of the Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program (OINP), one of Canada’s PNPs. Successful applicants to the HCP stream are awarded 600 additional Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS), with an Invitation to Apply (ITA) for permanent residence to follow at a subsequent draw from the Express Entry pool.
Ontario’s HCP stream is something of an outlier among the many Express Entry-aligned PNP streams due to it operating on a passive model. The process is neither first-come, first-served, nor Expression of Interest-based. Instead, the OINP searches the pool for eligible candidates who may settle in the province successfully, and issues them a NOI, which serves as an invitation to apply for a provincial nomination certificate through the OINP.
Speaking exclusively to CICNews, OINP staff confirmed that it expects to issue new NOIs before the end of the year, in line with the province’s annual PNP allocation, some of which has yet to be filled. Candidates who were eligible under the HCP stream criteria when the OINP was last issuing NOIs in July, but who did not receive a NOI, are encouraged by OINP staff to create a new profile in the Express Entry system to make it easier for Ontario to identify their profile during its search of the pool. Other candidates who have been in the pool for more than a couple of months, and who may be eligible for the HCP stream, may also re-create their profile in line with previous recommendations from immigration authorities in Ontario.
Even if a candidate is eligible under the HCP stream, there is no guarantee that a NOI will be issued.
To be eligible under the Ontario Human Capital Priorities stream, candidates must:
- Have a profile in the Express Entry pool and 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 at the federal application for permanent residence processing stage;
- Have a minimum level of work experience;
- Candidates who choose to be assessed against the Federal Skilled Worker Class (FSWC) criteria must have at least one year of continuous and full-time employment experience, or part-time equivalent, in a National Occupation Classification (NOC) level 0, A, or B occupation in the five years prior to the date of the Notification of Interest from the OINP.
- Candidates who choose to be assessed against the Canadian Experience Class (CEC) criteria must have at least one year of cumulative and full-time employment experience, or part-time equivalent, in a NOC 0, A, or B occupation in Canada in the three years prior to the date of the NOI from the OINP.
- Have a Canadian Bachelor’s, Master’s or PhD degree OR an Educational Credential Assessment (ECA) report produced by a designated organization indicating that their foreign education credential is equivalent to a Canadian Bachelor’s, Master’s or PhD;
- Demonstrate English or French language proficiency level of Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) 7 or above in all four competencies (speaking, reading, writing, and listening);
- Intend to reside in Ontario;
- Possess sufficient funds to cover settlement costs in Ontario; and
- Meet the additional criteria under either the FSWP or CEC.
Additional notes from the OINP
Ontario issued the following details regarding the latest update:
- Candidates must have a valid profile in the Express Entry system in order to apply.
- Candidates must have received a Notification of Interest (NOI) from Ontario that is still valid in order to apply.
- Notifications of Interest (NOI) issued prior to November 1, 2017 are valid for six months or to December 31, 2017 (whichever comes first). This means that candidates must submit an application for the HCP Stream in the OINP e-Filing Portal within six months of receiving their NOI from Ontario.
- NOIs issued after November 1, 2017 are valid for 45 days or to December 31, 2017 (whichever comes first). This means that candidates who received their NOI after November 1, 2017 must submit an application for the HCP in the OINP e-Filing Portal within 45 days of receiving their NOI from Ontario.
- All NOIs issued in 2017 are no longer valid after December 31, 2017.
- If an application is approved after the OINP reaches its nomination allocation for 2017, the nomination certificate will be issued in early 2018.
A dynamic stream
Ontario has tweaked the HCP stream on a couple of occasions throughout 2017, most notably in June when the requirement for candidates to have 400 or more CRS points was temporarily waived for certain Express Entry candidates with work experience in the Information and Communications Technology Sector (ICT).
This initiative showed that Ontario is willing to make exceptions to its own criteria based on labour market demands. It remains unknown if or when Ontario may repeat such an initiative, or whether other occupations and industries may be prioritized at such a time.
A popular destination
Recently released government data shows that, in spite of fast-growing immigrant populations elsewhere across Canada, Ontario remains the most popular destination of choice for newcomers to Canada. Thirty-nine percent of recent immigrants have chosen to make one of Ontario’s cities, towns, or communities their home. Canada’s largest city, Toronto, as well as its capital, Ottawa, are located in Ontario, as are a host of smaller cities, many of which are witnessing high rates of economic growth and high living standards.
To find out if you are eligible to enter the Express Entry pool, the first step to immigrating to Canada through Ontario’s Human Capital Priorities stream, please fill out a free online assessment.
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