Ontario PhD Graduate Stream

Last updated: 14 March 2023

The Ontario PhD Graduate stream gives international students, who have graduated from a PhD program at an eligible university in Ontario, the opportunity to immigrate permanently to Ontario without the requirement of a job offer. 

Applicants who are successfully nominated under the Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program (OINP's) PhD Graduate Stream may apply to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) for Canadian permanent resident status. 

Eligible PhD graduates do not need a job offer to apply.

For more information on the Ontario PhD Graduate Stream, this page will cover the following topics:

Eligibility Requirements

In order to be eligible for the OINP PhD Graduate Stream, individuals must:

  • Have completed all the necessary requirements to obtain a PhD degree from an eligible Ontario university with at least two years of the degree requirements completed while lawfully living and studying in Ontario;
  • Have been legally residing in Ontario for at least 12 of the last 24 months before the application submission date;
    • The applicant will be required to provide documentation with his or her full name and address in Ontario to prove that this requirement is met. For example, phone bill, car insurance, hydro/energy bill, leasing document, etc.
  • Possess sufficient funds and/or income to cover the settlement costs for themselves and their dependent family members (whether or not the family members are accompanying the applicant or not). Potential applicants can determine the settlement funds required based on family size. The amount is updated annually by the federal government. 
    • Dependent family members include: Spouse or common-law-partner, children under the age of 22 and their children.
  • Submit the application within two years of the date on which the PhD was granted;
  • Intend to live and work in Ontario; and
  • Have legal status (i.e. study permit, work permit, visitor record) if living in Canada at the time of the application.
    •  The OINP accepts applications from potential applicants who are on maintained status at the time of applying. 

Settlement Funds 

Potential applicants to the OINP PhD Graduate Stream can demonstrate they have sufficient funds to economically establish themselves in Canada through one or a combination of the following:

  • Funds as demonstrated by the balance listed in bank statements, or statements of accounts showing other investments such as non-locked in, fixed term deposits, mutual funds, etc; 
  • Annual earnings from ongoing employment in Ontario; and/or
  • A job offer in Ontario.

If an applicant uses employment or a job offer in Ontario to meet the settlement funds requirement, he or she must include an employment contract/job offer letter indicating the position, hours of work, and wage. If currently working in Ontario, the applicant must provide two (most) recent pay slips as proof of funds. 

Ties to Ontario

While potential applicants to the PhD Graduate Stream do not need to be residing in the province at the time of applying, all applicants must intend to reside in Ontario.

Potential PhD Graduate Stream applicants can demonstrate a connection to Ontario by listing his or her ties to the province, which can include: 

  • Current and/or previous employment in Ontario;
  • Job offers or jobs applied/interviewed for in Ontario;
  • Education in Ontario;
  • Volunteer work in Ontario;
  • Lease agreements for a residence in Ontario or property ownership;
  • Professional networks and affiliations;
  • Family ties;
  • Social connections or personal relationships; and/or
  • Previous visits to Ontario.

Application Period

An applicant's degree must be dated within two years of the OINP application submission date. For example, if the degree is dated June 1, 2017, the eligible graduate must apply before June 1, 2019. If the degree has not yet been granted, the applicant can use the date indicated on an official letter from the academic institution indicating when the degree will be granted.

Application Process

Before Applying

Prior to submitting an application, the OINP encourages potential applicants to review the eligibility criteria, document checklist, and ensure that the application is complete. All documents uploaded to Ontario's e-Filing portal must be clear and legible.

The OINP may request additional documents from PhD Graduate Stream applicants during the processing of the application. 


Applying for the PhD Graduate Stream online through the OINP's e-Filing portal may take approximately two hours to complete. 

Once a registration to apply is submitted through the OINP's online system, the applicant has 14 calendar days to complete and submit the application or the registration will expire and get withdrawn. The OINP encourages applicants to complete an application before submitting a payment. Once an application is submitted to the OINP, the applicant will not be able to make any changes.

Applicants are responsible for the translation and notarization of any supporting documents that are not in English or French. It is the responsibility of the applicant to locate a certified translator accredited by the Association of Translators and Interpreters of Ontario (ATIO) and/or obtain a notarization of documents translated by a translator not certified by the ATIO.

If an applicant located in Ontario is not able to find a certified translator accredited by the ATIO, the translation must be notarized. A letter explaining the reasoning and efforts taken to locate a certified translator must included with the application. 

If applying from outside Ontario, the translation must be notarized. If deemed insufficient, the OINP may require applicants to obtain a translation from a certified translator accredited by the ATIO. Translations completed by the applicant, their representative, or others with personal ties to the applicant will not be accepted even if these individuals are considered certified translators. 

After Applying

If the OINP considers an application to be incomplete, individuals looking to apply for the OINP PhD Graduate Stream will be required to resubmit a new application. The OINP may consider an application to be incomplete if inaccurate supporting documents are provided or documents that require translation are not certified or notarized. 

Applicants who believe the OINP's decision was made in error may request an internal review of the application within 30 calendar days of receiving the notice of the decision (if residing in Canada) or within 60 calendar days if residing overseas. The request must not include any evidence that was not submitted to the program before the decision was made unless the evidence was not reasonably available at the time of applying. The OINP's internal review decision is final. 

If the application is successful, applicants will be issued a Letter of Nomination (Nomination Approval Letter) and a Confirmation of Nomination (OINP Certificate of Nomination). 


The next step after obtaining a nomination from the OINP is to submit a Canadian permanent residence application to IRCC within six (6) months of being nominated by the OINP. Applicants must include a copy of both the Letter of Nomination and the OINP Confirmation of Nomination with their permanent residence application to IRCC. 

The OINP states that a nomination does not guarantee the approval of an application for Canadian permanent residence with IRCC. The OINP requires that nominees continue to demonstrate, on a reasonable basis, the intention to reside in Ontario.

While nominations are valid for a six-month period, the nominee may submit a request for an extension of the Nomination Certificate if it is no longer valid and: 

  1. IRCC returns the permanent residence application due to incompleteness requiring the submission of a new application; or 
  2. the nominee is experiencing delays in securing supporting documents for the permanent residence application (i.e. a police criminal record check) and has not yet applied to IRCC. 

The OINP has an immigration stream dedicated to international students who have a master's degree from an eligible Ontario university. Learn about the OINP Masters Graduate Stream

Who is not Eligible to Apply for the PhD Graduate Stream?

The following individuals are not eligible to apply under the Ontario PhD Graduate Stream:

  • Individuals who have not yet completed their PhD degree. The OINP will not accept applications from international students who are in their final semester of studies. Applicants must have met all the degree requirements at the time of application.
  • Individuals who completed their PhD degree more than two years ago.
  • Individuals who are the recipient of a grant, bursary, or scholarship that requires them to return to their home country or another jurisdiction (another Canadian province/territory or another country) after the completion of their studies (provided that the obligations have not been fulfilled).
  • Individuals who currently live in Canada without legal status.

Eligible Ontario Universities 

To apply for the PhD Graduate Stream, the PhD degree must be completed at one of the following universities:

  • Brock University
  • Carleton University
  • Dominican University College
  • Lakehead University
  • Laurentian University
  • McMaster University
  • Nipissing University
  • Queen’s University
  • Royal Military College of Canada
  • Ryerson University
  • Saint Paul University (Federated with the University of Ottawa)
  • St. Jerome’s University (Federated with the University of Waterloo)
  • Trent University
  • University of Guelph
  • University of Ontario Institute of Technology
  • University of Ottawa
  • University of St. Michael’s College (Federated with the University of Toronto)
  • University of Toronto
  • University of Trinity College (Federated with the University of Toronto)
  • University of Waterloo
  • University of Windsor
  • Victoria University (Federated with the University of Toronto)
  • Western University
  • Wilfrid Laurier University
  • York University

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