A map of Ontario, Canada

The government of Ontario has placed a hold on intake for the Express Entry-aligned Human Capital Priorities stream of the Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program (OINP) following a recent surge in applications.

This news follows recent initiatives that were designed to attract additional candidates to the stream, including a recent strategy whereby the OINP searched for candidates in the Express Entry pool with experience in certain Information and Communications Technology (ICT) occupations. Candidates with experience in certain ICT occupations were prioritized for selection, even if they scored less than 400 points under the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS). Normally, Ontario only invites candidates with 400 or more CRS points.

On July 25, Ontario announced that the Human Capital Priorities stream has reached its current registration limit. Once registered, a candidate has 14 days to submit an application. In order to have registered, candidates must have first received a Notification of Interest (NOI) for this stream. Ontario will also pause the issuance of NOIs for the time being.

Once a NOI was issued, the invited candidate had six months to register on Ontario’s online application system and submit the application.

Although invited candidates technically had six months to register and submit an application, this week’s pause reinforces Ontario’s previous advice to invited candidates to register a profile and submit an application on their e-Filing Portal as soon as possible in order to ensure that their application was received before the allocation is fulfilled.

It should be noted that the OINP update uses the phrase current registration limit. This is not necessarily synonymous with an application limit, and Ontario may resume accepting registrations in the future. Moreover, the temporary nature of the pause may allude to further NOIs being issued before too long. In early May, Ontario stated that the Human Capital Priorities stream would issue NOIs ‘on a weekly basis.’

After receiving a NOI and registering, candidates in the Express Entry pool are able to submit an application for an enhanced provincial nomination certificate. If and when this nomination is approved, the candidate may then receive 600 additional points under the CRS and an Invitation To Apply (ITA) for permanent residence during a subsequent draw from the pool.

The Human Capital Priorities stream is arguably the most popular OINP stream, and one of the most popular Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) streams of any province. The stream is unique in that it is passive; candidates must have received a NOI before registering on Ontario’s online system, yet no ‘Expression of Interest’ process precedes the issuance of a NOI.

The Human Capital Priorities stream may reopen its intake at any time. In the meantime, individuals interested in immigrating to Ontario may still do so through the Express Entry selection system.

To find out if you are eligible to immigrate to Canada, please fill out a free assessment form.