Ontario has now joined every other provincial government in offering a provincial immigration program, designed to fast-track the issuance of Canadian Permanent Resident Visas for foreign workers with skills in demand.

The Ontario government has introduced the Ontario Pilot Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) aimed at helping Ontario employers to attract and retain the skilled immigrants needed in the provincial labour market. The program is designed to attract highly skilled workers and specialized professionals in the health care, education, manufacturing, and construction industries. The program also focuses on retaining recent international student graduates from Ontario colleges and universities. About half of all nominations will be reserved for businesses outside the Greater Toronto Area, to encourage growth in regional economies.

Attorney David Cohen, of the Canadian immigration law firm Campbell Cohen, notes that as the most popular province for Canadian immigrants, setting up an Ontario Provincial Nominee Program makes a lot of sense. “Whereas most provinces are in serious need of newcomers, Ontario is lucky enough to receive the majority of immigrants to Canada. The PNP will allow the province to channel foreign skilled workers into industries where there are skill shortages.” He is pleased to see that every province is now offering an employment-related immigration program to speed up the Canadian immigration process.

The Ontario Pilot PNP is an element of the Canada-Ontario Immigration Agreement (COIA), which has set aside $920 million over the next five years for settlement and language services in Ontario. Aware of the importance of immigrant retention, the Ontario government has established mechanisms for better immigrant integration into Ontario society and into the Canadian labour force.

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