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Ontario reopens popular immigration streams targeting international graduates UPDATE: Masters Graduate Stream has now closed, PhD Graduate Stream remains open to applicants

Eman Katem

Stephen Smith

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The Canadian province of Ontario reopened its Masters Graduate Stream and PhD Graduate Stream on January 29.

The Masters Graduate and PhD Graduate streams are two of the most sought-after immigration programs offered under the Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program (OINP). No job offer is required to apply to these streams, which are designed to retain international graduates who studied in the province.

Intake limits through these two first-come, first-served streams are often reached quickly, and the Masters Graduate Stream closed around an hour after it opened. Ontario did not disclose how many applications it was accepting for the current application intake period.

The PhD Graduate Stream remains open to applications.

The two streams opened on three occasions in 2017 — in February, May and October — and also reached their intake limits quickly. The OINP said it expects to reopen the Masters Graduate Stream periodically this year until Ontario’s 2018 provincial nomination allocation is fulfilled. The OINP can nominate 6,600 people through its various immigration streams this year, up 600 over 2017.

Ontario is the most popular study destination for international students, particularly post-graduate students, who are attracted by the quality of education and research opportunities offered across the province.

Applicants approved for provincial nomination through these streams receive a ‘base’ provincial nomination certificate and may be in the position to submit an application for permanent residence to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).

Base streams are not aligned with the federal Express Entry system, but provide interested individuals a pathway to Canadian permanent residence.

Immigration authorities in Ontario recommended that applicants review the program application guides before applying for any possible changes to criteria and processing procedures resulting from the coming into effect of the Ontario Immigration Act on January 1, 2018.

To find out if you are Canadian immigration through the OINP, fill out a FREE assessment form today.

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 show that they have resided in Ontario for at least 12 cumulative months in the 24 months before submitting an application.
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.

To find out if you are Canadian immigration through the OINP, fill out a FREE assessment form today.

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