As one of the most popular immigration provinces, it's about time that Ontario spruce up its Provincial Nominee Program (PNP), says Attorney David Cohen of the Campbell Cohen Canadian Immigration Law Firm. The Ontario Government has recently upgraded its Pilot PNP to the full-fledged Opportunities Ontario Provincial Nominee Program, giving it greater versatility as well as the ability to welcome more immigrants to Ontario.

The Ontario Pilot Provincial Nominee Program has been expanded to welcome twice as many applicants in a broader range of qualifying categories. Under the new program, called Opportunities Ontario: Provincial Nominee Program, the province plans to accept 1,000 new immigrants in 2009, double the annual amount accepted under the previous program.

"Ontario has always attracted the majority of Canadian immigrants in addition to being the most populated province. It is very encouraging to see the province play a more significant role in its own immigration policy," says Canadian Immigration Attorney David Cohen.

Cohen, who has been representing Canadian immigration applicants for over 25 years, has seen the success of the various Provincial Nomination Programs over the past several years. Though Ontario was late getting on board (it was the last province to establish a PNP in 2007), its recent reorganization is good news to Canadian immigration applicants, many of whom plan to reside in Ontario.

There are two main categories under the new system: The General Category for employers and investors who wish to hire foreign skilled workers, and the International Student Category, for employers who want to hire foreign students who have studied at a publicly-funded university or college in Canada.

In previous years, Ontario employers were restricted to hiring foreign workers in only 20 listed occupations in the health, education, manufacturing and construction industries. Now, they can hire foreign skilled workers for any managerial, professional, or skilled occupation (listed as skill level A, B, or 0 in the National Occupation Classification).

"This will make it easier for potential Ontario nominees to qualify," says Cohen, who expects that the Campbell Cohen Law Firm will consequently be seeing a lot more of these types of applications now.

The main change for employers seeking to hire international students is that job offers to the students are no longer required to be in their field of study in Canada. They can now be for any skilled occupation (A, B, or 0).

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