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What is the Ontario Provincial Nominee Program? Ontario welcomes one third of all immigrants to Canada each year.

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Ontario is Canada’s most popular landing destination for immigrants. Through Ontario’s Provincial Nominee Program (PNP), which is called the Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program (OINP), immigrants can receive a provincial nomination which allows them to apply for permanent residency.

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The OINP launched in 2007 to respond to skill shortages in certain areas and offer easier investment routes for the province. The province’s 2022 allocation is 9,750 nominations.

The OINP’s immigration streams consist of base and enhanced streams. Enhanced streams are aligned with the federal Express Entry system, which manages permanent residence applications through Canada’s three main economic class immigration programs.

The Express Entry system gives candidates a score based on the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS), and the highest-ranking candidates are then invited to apply for permanent residence. If a candidate has a nomination from a provincial program that is enhanced, they will receive an extra 600 points, essentially guaranteeing an Invitation to Apply (ITA) for permanent residence.

Conversely, base streams are not aligned with Express Entry, therefore candidates apply directly to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).

Ontario’s Immigration Streams

Candidates have three categories to choose from when immigrating to Ontario:

  • Human Capital Category and the Masters or PhD Category
  • Employer Job Offer Category
  • Business Category

The Human Capital Category

The Human Capital Category is divided into two sub streams. The first stream, the Human Capital Category, is the Ontario Express Entry, which is enhanced. The other stream, the Masters and PhD Category, is not aligned with Express Entry.

The following programs fall under the Human Capital Category sub stream:

  • Human Capital Priorities: includes the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP) and Canadian Experience Class (CEC)
  • Skilled Trades: for individuals with relevant work experience in an eligible trade occupation in Ontario
  • French Speaking Skilled Worker: operates like the Human Capital Priorities program through FSWP and CEC, but applicants must have strong French and English skills.

The following programs fall under the Masters and PhD Category:

The programs under this stream are base streams and therefore require the candidate to create a profile and register an expression of interest (EOI) with Ontario’s Expression of Interest system.

Employer Job Offer Category

The following programs fall under the Employer Job Offer Category:

Under this category, the candidate must intend to live in Ontario and have a full-time permanent job offer in an eligible occupation in Ontario. They must also have work experience, a licence or other authorization that is required to perform the job.

In addition, the Regional Immigration Pilot is a program that is part of the Employer Job Offer Category with a goal of attracting and retaining immigrations to rural and small communities in Ontario to fill labour shortages.

Business Category

The Business Category is for immigration candidates looking to start a business or buy an existing business in Ontario. There is only one program under this category, which is the Entrepreneur Stream.

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