A map of Ontario, Canada

The Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program (OINP) will begin accepting applications under three of its most popular immigration streams next week. These streams are the Express Entry Human Capital Priorities Stream, the International PhD Graduate Stream, and the International Masters Graduate Stream.

A temporary pause had been placed on these streams last May, due to their annual allocations having been reached.

In addition, a new modernized online application process is due to be rolled out in conjunction with the reopening of these OINP streams. The government of Ontario says that this will speed up the application process, improve customer service, and help employers find the skilled workers they need sooner.

The provincial government also added that the International PhD Graduate, International Masters Graduate, and Human Capital Priorities streams will pause and reopen periodically. The aim of this strategy is for more efficient processing of applications.

The OINP overall allocation is set at 6,000 for 2017. This is up from 5,500 last year, and includes applications across all OINP streams. As recently as 2014, the province's allocation was set at just 2,500.

Express Entry Human Capital Priorities Stream

The announcement that the OINP Express Entry Human Capital Priorities Stream is reopening is likely to be well received by candidates in the federal Express Entry pool. This stream is 'passive', meaning that when it reopens, the OINP will begin searching the federal Express Entry pool for qualified candidates and issue what are known as Notifications of Interest — effectively, this in an invite to apply to the program.

One of the requirements is that a candidate must have already entered the Express Entry pool and be awarded 400 or more Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) points. If the candidate successfully obtains an OINP nomination certificate through this stream, he or she is awarded 600 additional CRS points and will subsequently receive an Invitation To Apply for Canadian permanent residence.

The threshold to reach 400 CRS points is significantly lesser than the lowest CRS cut-off point of any Express Entry draw so far (which, incidentally was in the most recent draw, at 447 points). Consequently, the 400-point mark is viewed by many candidates as a milestone, as it can trigger eligibility for the OINP Express Entry Human Capital Priorities Stream and lead to a Notification of Interest being received.

International PhD Graduate Stream

The International PhD Graduate Stream targets individuals who have graduated from a PhD program at one of Ontario’s publicly funded universities. This stream operates outside the Express Entry system and a job offer is not required.

International Masters Graduate Stream

The International Masters Graduate Stream, which operates outside the Express Entry system, targets individuals who have graduated with a Master’s degree from one of Ontario’s publicly funded universities. A job offer is not required.

When this stream reopens, eligible candidates will now be able to apply if they are residing outside Ontario. Applicants will also now have the option of using an alternate service provider to obtain their language test, though exactly what this entails is not clear at this time. Further details are expected next Tuesday, February 21.

“Immigration is key to stimulating innovation, growing our workforce and keeping us competitive in today’s global economy. By helping attract the people who have the skills and abilities we need to fill labour market gaps, Ontario is helping ensure businesses are better able to prosper and make our province even stronger,” stated Ontario's Minister of Immigration, Laura Albanese.

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.