Frequently asked questions about the Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program (OINP).

The Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program (OINP), formerly known as the Opportunities Ontario Provincial Nominee Program (OOPNP), is a program under which prospective immigrants with the skills and experience targeted by the province may receive an Ontario Provincial Nomination Certificate, which will allow that foreign national to apply for Canadian permanent residence with processing times that are faster than other Canadian immigration classes.

The OINP is an immigration program through which Ontario nominates individuals and their families for permanent resident status based on provincial labour market objectives. The Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program offers both base and enhanced (Express Entry) nominations.

Eligible candidates for an OINP stream can, depending on the stream in question, either make an application directly to the program or receive a Notification of Interest (NOI), which serves as an invitation to apply from the province to the potential applicant. The province will determine eligibility and process the application. If the applicant is successful, he or she receives a provincial nomination certificate. From this point, the applicant makes an application for permanent residence to the federal government, which determines medical and security admissibility.

The OINP accepts applications under the following immigration categories:

  • Ontario Express Entry
  • General Category (sometimes referred to as Employer Category)
  • International Student Category
  • Business Category

Ontario has two immigration streams aligned with the federal Express Entry immigration selection system, also referred to as enhanced Express Entry streams. These streams are called Ontario Express Entry: Human Capital Priorities Stream (see question 13 for more details) and Ontario Express Entry: French-Speaking Skilled Worker Stream (see question 15 for more details). By receiving an enhanced provincial nomination from one of these streams, candidates receive an extra 600 Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) points, resulting in an Invitation To Apply (ITA) for permanent residence being issued at a subsequent draw from the Express Entry pool. 

The General Category, sometimes referred to as the Employer Category or the Foreign Skilled Workers with a Job Offer Stream, allows Ontario employers to recruit foreign workers for approved skilled positions (NOC Skill Type 0 or Skill Level A or B). These employees may be living abroad or in Canada at the time of application.

Under this category, both the employer and the foreign national must submit an application to show that eligibility requirements are met. Employers must first submit a Pre-screen Application to the OINP in order to have the position they want to fill approved. If this application is approved, the foreign worker the employer is seeking to recruit must then submit a Nominee Application to the OINP.

To learn more about the OINP General Category, click here.

To be eligible as a foreign worker under the OINP General Category, applicants must:

  • Have at least two years (24 months) of paid and verifiable work experience, either in Canada or abroad, within the previous five years in their intended occupation OR have the appropriate registration in Ontario, if applying for a position in a regulated occupation in the province;
  • Have a permanent, full-time job offer in a skilled occupation (NOC levels 0, A, or B) from the employer that is also submitting an application; and
  • Be residing abroad OR residing, working, or visiting Canada on a valid work permit, study permit or visitor record.

To qualify under this immigration category, the Ontario employer must:

  • Have been in active business for at least three years;
  • Have business premises in Ontario where the prospective nominee will work;
  • Demonstrate sufficient proof of recruitment efforts if the prospective nominee is currently living abroad, visiting Canada, or working in a province or territory other than Ontario;
  • Be in compliance with all provincial labour laws, including, but not limited to, employment standards, health and safety, and labour relations legislation; and 
  • For employers located inside the Greater Toronto Area (GTA):
    • Have a minimum gross revue for the most recent fiscal year of $1,000,000, and
    • Have at least five permanent full-time employees.
  • For employers located outside the Greater Toronto Area (GTA):
    • Have a minimum gross revenue for the most recent fiscal year of $500,000, and
    • Have at least three permanent full-time employees.

This category targets foreign graduates who wish to become economically established in the province of Ontario and is open to graduates both with and without job offers in the province. The International Students Category is further divided into the following three streams:

  • International Student with a Job Offer Stream
  • International Student - Master's Graduate Stream
  • International Student - PhD Graduate Stream

To learn more about the OINP International Student Category, click here.

To qualify under the International Student with a Job Offer Stream, candidates must:

  • Have graduated from, or have met the requirements of a full-time degree or diploma program, at an eligible publicly-funded Canadian college or university;
    • The program of study must have been at least two years in length, OR a one -year post-graduate certificate program, which requires a previous degree or diploma.
    • The previous degree or diploma may have been obtained outside Canada.
  • Have completed at least half of their studies in Canada;
  • Have acquired an approved permanent, full-time job offer in a skilled occupation (NOC levels 0, A, or B); and
    • The job offer must meet the entry-level wage levels in Ontario for that occupation.
    • Note: the job need not be in the same field as the degree or diploma.
  • Apply within two years of the date on which they received their Canadian degree or diploma.

Under this stream, the employer must first submit a Pre-screen Application to the OINP to have the position approved. Once approved, the prospective nominee must submit a Nominee Application to the OINP.

To qualify under the International Student - Master's Graduate Stream, candidates must:

  • Intend to live and work permanently in Ontario;
  • 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.
  • Submit the application within two years of the date on which the Masters degree was granted;
  • Currently be residing in Ontario with legal status (i.e. study permit, work permit, visitor record);
  • Demonstrate a high language proficiency level in English or French of Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) 7 or above in all four competencies (speaking, reading, writing, and listening);
    • Language proficiency must be proved by the following International English Language Testing (IELTS) General Test scores and Test d’Evaluation de Français (TEF) scores in each language competency:
      • Listening: IELTS 6 or TEF 249-279
      • Reading: IELTS 6 or TEF 207-232
      • Writing: IELTS 6 or TEF 310-348
      • Speaking: IELTS 6 or TEF 310-348,
  • Be able to show a minimum level of savings and/or income in order to support themselves and their dependents;
  • Show that they have resided in Ontario for at least 12 cumulative months in the past 24 months; and
  • Not intend to pursue further academic studies in Ontario.

To qualify under the International Student - PhD Graduate Stream, candidates 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.
  • 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.
    • Applicants to this stream need not be in Canada at the time of application.

The OINP Business Category allows entrepreneurs and key staff of foreign corporations to be nominated for permanent residence. Ontario seeks to attract these foreign business people who can bring their business ideas, talents, and investments with them to the province. This category is further divided into two streams:

  • Entrepreneur Stream, designed to attract individuals looking to establish or purchase a business in Ontario, and
  • Corporate Stream, aimed at helping international corporations looking to expand into Ontario or purchase an existing business in the province.

To qualify as an entrepreneur under the OINP Business Category, candidates must meet the following minimum eligibility criteria:

  • Candidates must have at least 36 months of full-time business experience in the last 60 months as a business owner or senior manager;
    • If the applicant has experience as both a business owner and a senior manager, he or she must choose only ONE to use for the EOI and for the application.
  • Applicants require a minimum net worth, which varies depending on where the business will be located;
    • For businesses located within the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), applicants must have a minimum net worth of $1,500,000.
    • For businesses located outside the GTA, applicants must have a minimum net worth of $800,000.
    • For businesses in the ICT/Digital Communications sector (regardless of where it will be located), applicants must have a minimum net worth of $800,000.
  • Applicants must provide a third party verification report, prepared by an authorized service provider, in order to demonstrate their net worth.
  • Applicants must make a minimum personal investment, which varies depending on the location of the proposed business;
    • If the proposed business will be located within the GTA, applicants must make a minimum personal investment of $1,000,000.
    • If the proposed business will be located outside the GTA, applicants must make a minimum personal investment of $500,000.
    • If the proposed business will be in the ICT/Digital Communications sector (regardless of where it will be located), applicants must make a minimum personal investment of $500,000.
  • Applicants must have a minimum equity ownership of 33.3 percent (one-third);
  • Applicants must commit to creating at least two permanent, full-time jobs for Canadian citizens and/or permanent residents; and 
    • If purchasing an existing business, the applicant must create two new full-time permanent positions in addition to the current staff.
  • Applicants who purchase an existing business must make at least one business-related visit to Ontario in the 12 months prior to submitting the Expression of Interest.

NOTE: If the applicant is applying with a Business Partner who is also seeking nomination, both the applicant and the partner must individually meet all the minimum requirements listed above.

Additionally, there are a number of requirements that the business must meet in order to qualify. For more information, visit the OINP Entrepreneur Stream page.

In order to be eligible, international corporations must:

  • Have been established for at least 36 months at the time of application;
  • Currently employ key staff seeking nominations, and these key staff must be essential to the business operation in Ontario;
  • Create five full-time permanent positions for Canadian citizens or permanent residents for each nominee position being sought;
  • Key staff nominees will have two years to demonstrate a minimum language requirement prior to permanent residence nomination; and
  • Create five new full-time permanent jobs for Canadians or permanent residents per key staff member.
    • Positions must be paid at or above the associated prevailing wage level.
    • The positions must be continuously filled for at least 10 months prior to the submission of the Final Report. 

In the case of business succession, the following additional criteria apply:

  • Any existing business must have been in continuous operation by the same owner for the previous 60 months (five years);
  • The purchase must completely transfer ownership from the previous owner(s) to the corporation;
  • The business must not have been previously owned/operated by current or former OINP business stream nominees;
  • The proposed business plan must grow the business; 
  • The corporation must maintain, at minimum, the current wage levels and employment terms of existing staff;
  • The corporation must meet the job creation commitment; and
  • The corporation must preserve all existing permanent full-time jobs.

There are also additional criteria regarding the investment and the proposed business in Ontario. For more information, visit the OINP Corporate Stream page.

Applicant corporations may request up to five key staff members who will establish the business in Ontario and who are seeking nomination to permanently relocate to the province. To apply with the corporation under the OINP Corporate Stream, these key staff must:

  • Be essential to the establishment and operation of the proposed business;
  • Be in a senior, executive, management or specialized knowledge capacity (National Occupation Classification 0 or A) in the applicant corporation's existing business;
    • Only one key staff in a NOC A position can be proposed. 
  • Have at least 36 months of experience in the last 60 months in the intended occupation (the position they will hold in the proposed business in Ontario) with the applicant corporation;
  • Be continuously working for the applicant corporation in that position in the immediate 12 months prior to the submission of the application;
  • Not have an immediate family relationship with any member of the corporation’s Executive Board or Board of Directors or shareholders with more than 10 percent equity in the applicant corporation;
    • Immediate family members include spouses, mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, grandparents and spouse’s immediate family members.
  • Not hold equity in the company, except in the case where that equity has been obtained as part of the remuneration package as part of the employee contract, in which case the equity held by the key staff must be less than 10 percent of the corporate applicant’s business; and
  • Be taking on permanent full-time positions in the proposed business in Ontario that meet the prevailing wage levels.

This stream is designed for foreign skilled workers with the necessary education, work experience, language proficiency, and other characteristics to help them become established and integrated into Ontario’s labour market and communities. In order to be considered under this stream, candidates must be eligible to enter the federal Express Entry pool through either the Federal Skilled Worker Class or the Canadian Experience Class.

Candidates may not apply directly to this stream. Instead, they must first receive a Notification of Interest (NOI) from the OINP based on their Express Entry profile. 

To learn more about the OINP Human Capital Priorities stream, click here.

To qualify under this stream, candidates must:

  • Score a minimum of 400 points under the CRS. The score must remain at or above 400 during both the Ontario nomination processing stage and at the federal application for permanent residence processing stage;
  • Have a minimum level of work experience;
    • Candidates who choose to be assessed against the Federal Skilled Worker Class criteria must have at least one year of continuous and full-time employment experience, or part-time equivalent, in a National Occupation Classification (NOC) level 0, A, or B occupation in the five years prior to the date of the NOI from the OINP.
    • Candidates who choose to be assessed against the Canadian Experience Class (CEC) criteria must have at least one year of cumulative and full-time employment experience, or part-time equivalent, in a NOC 0, A, or B occupation in Canada in the three years prior to the date of the NOI from the OINP.
  • Have a Canadian Bachelor’s, Master’s or PhD degree OR an Educational Credential Assessment (ECA) report produced by a designated organization indicating that their foreign education credential is equivalent to a Canadian Bachelor’s, Master’s or PhD;
  • Demonstrate a language proficiency level of Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) 7 or above in all four competencies (speaking, reading, writing, and listening);
    • Language proficiency must be proved by test results from one of the following designated testing agencies:
      • IELTS (General Training Test only) for english;
      • CELPIP (General test only) for english; or
      • TEF for french;
  • Intend to reside in Ontario, as demonstrated by a statement of intent and indication of ties to Ontario; and
  • Possess sufficient funds to cover settlement costs in Ontario. This must be supported by bank statements.

Additionally, candidates applying through the Federal Skilled Worker Class must score at least 67 out of 100 points based on the IRCC's six selection factors: English and/or French skills, education, work experience, age, arranged employment in Canada, and adaptability.

Candidates applying through the CEC must:

  • Have at least 12 months of full-time, or part-time equivalent, cumulative paid work experience in Canada in a NOC level 0, A, or B occupation in the three years prior to applying;
  • Meet the minimum language level of CLB 7 for NOC 0 or A jobs OR CLB 5 for NOC B jobs.
    • Note: The Human Capital Priorities Stream requires ALL applicants to have language level of CLB 7 in English or French regardless of occupation.
  • Plan to live outside the province of Quebec; and
    • Note: planning to live outside of Ontario can be deemed to contradict the candidate's statement of intent to reside in Ontario. This can result in the refusal of his or her application to the OINP.
  • Be admissible to Canada.

This stream targets French-Speaking skilled workers with strong English language abilities seeking to live and work permanently in the province of Ontario. Successful candidates are those with the required education, skilled work experience, language ability, and other characteristics to help them successfully integrate into Ontario’s labour market and communities. To be considered under this stream, candidates must be eligible to enter the federal Express Entry pool through either the Federal Skilled Worker Class or the Canadian Experience Class.

Candidates may not apply directly to this stream. Instead, they must first receive a Notification of Interest (NOI) from the OINP based on their Express Entry profile. 

To learn more about the OINP French-Speaking Skilled Worker stream, click here.

To qualify under this enhanced stream, candidates must:

  • Demonstrate sufficient language ability in all four components (speaking, reading, writing, and listening) in both French and English;
    • These levels are Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) 7 in French and CLB 6 in English.
    • Language test results must come from one of the following designated testing agencies:
      • IELTS (General Training Test only) for english;
      • CELPIP (General test only) for english; or
      • TEF for french;
  • Have a minimum level of work experience;
    • Candidates who choose to be assessed against the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP) criteria must have at least one year of continuous and full-time employment experience, or part-time equivalent, in a National Occupation Classification (NOC) level 0, A, or B occupation in the five years prior to the date of the NOI from the OINP.
    • Candidates who choose to be assessed against the Canadian Experience Class (CEC) criteria must have at least one year of cumulative and full-time employment experience, or part-time equivalent, in a NOC 0, A, or B occupation in Canada in the three years prior to the date of the NOI from the OINP.
  • Have a Canadian Bachelor’s, Master’s or PhD degree OR an Educational Credential Assessment (ECA) report produced by a designated organization indicating that their foreign education is equivalent to a Canadian Bachelor’s, Master’s or PhD degree;
  • Intend to reside in Ontario, as demonstrated by a statement of intent and indication of ties to Ontario; and
  • Possess sufficient funds to cover settlement costs in Ontario. This must be supported by bank statements.

Additionally, candidates applying through the Federal Skilled Worker Class must score at least 67 out of 100 points based on the IRCC's six selection factors: English and/or French skills, education, work experience, age, arranged employment in Canada, and adaptability.

Candidates applying through the CEC must:

  • Have at least 12 months of full-time, or part-time equivalent, cumulative paid work experience in Canada in a NOC level 0, A, or B occupation in the three years prior to applying;
  • Meet the minimum language level of CLB 7 for NOC 0 or A jobs OR CLB 5 for NOC B jobs.
    • Note: The French-Speaking Skilled Worker Stream requires ALL applicants to have language level of CLB 7 in French and CLB 6 in English regardless of occupation.
  • Plan to live outside the province of Quebec; and
    • Note: planning to live outside of Ontario can be deemed to contradict the candidate's statement of intent to reside in Ontario. This can result in the refusal of his or her application to the OINP.
  • Be admissible to Canada.

As part of any PNP application, applicants are required to submit a Settlement Plan indicating why they wish to live in the province and how they intend to settle. Applicants are also required to sign an ‘intention to reside’ document with their application. That being said, the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms ensures that all Canadian citizens and permanent residents are allowed to work and reside in any location across Canada. Once an individual obtains Canadian permanent residence, he or she has the right to work and reside in any Canadian province or territory.

 

To learn more about your Canadian immigration options, fill out a free online assessment today.

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