Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program (OINP)
Ontario is Canada’s most popular landing destination for immigrants from around the world.
As Canada’s most populous province, nearly 40 percent of Canadians call Ontario home. Ontario is also home to Canada’s capital city, Ottawa, and its largest city, Toronto. In many ways, Ontario is the center of Canada’s economic, social, and political life.
Ontario’s Provincial Nominee Program is called the Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program (OINP).
Through this program, 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 accepts applications under the following immigration categories:
- Ontario Express Entry
- General Category (sometimes referred to as Employer Category)
- International Student Category
- Business Category
Overview of the Ontario PNP
The Ontario PNP, officially the Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program (OINP), became permanent in February 2009.
The main objectives of the OINP are to respond to skill shortages in targeted areas, make it easier to invest in Ontario, and make sure newcomers can settle and integrate well in the province.
When it first started, the Ontario PNP was only allowed to nominate up to 1,000 newcomers in 2009. Today, Ontario nominates some 8,000 newcomers per year.
Some Ontario immigration streams are base streams and others are enhanced streams.
Enhanced streams are those that are aligned with the Express Entry system. This is the federal immigration system that Canada uses to manage permanent residence applications through the country’s three main economic class immigration programs.
Through this system, a candidate is given a point score based on the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS). The highest-ranking candidates are then invited to apply for permanent residence.
Those with nomination from a provincial program that is enhanced get an extra 600 points, effectively guaranteeing getting an Invitation to Apply (ITA) for permanent residence. They also get their nomination through their Express Entry profile.
Base streams are streams that are not aligned with the Express Entry systems. Candidates who get a provincial nomination are required to apply directly to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).
Ontario Immigration Categories
If you wish to immigrate to Ontario, then you have three categories to choose from:
The Human Capital Category is for skilled workers, French-speaking skilled workers and tradespersons. It is also for international graduates who graduated from an Ontario university with a Master’s or PhD degree. No job offer is required to apply through this category.
The Employer Job Offer Category is for candidates who have an eligible job offer in Ontario from an employer who is willing to nominate them.
Ontario Express Entry
Ontario Express Entry: Human Capital Priorities Stream
The Human Capital Category itself divides into two sub-streams. One is the Ontario Express Entry. Programs in this sub-stream are enhanced. This means that they are linked with the Express Entry system.
The following programs fall into the Human Capital Category: Ontario Express Entry sub-stream:
- Human Capital Priorities: This category includes the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP) and Canadian Experience Class (CEC).
- Skilled Trades: For individuals with relevant Ontario work experience in an eligible trade occupation.
- French-Speaking Skilled Worker: This program operates, like Human Capital Priorities, through FSWP and CEC. Applicants for French-Speaking Skilled Worker must have strong skills in both French and English.
If you receive a nomination through Ontario Express Entry, you will be notified. It will then be up to you, the candidate, to accept or refuse the nomination. Accepting the nomination awards you with an extra 600 CRS points. This means that you will receive an Invitation to Apply (ITA) in the next all-program Express Entry draw.
The following programs fall into the Human Capital Category: International Graduates sub-stream. They are not aligned with Express Entry. An applicant must create a profile and register an expression of interest (EOI):
- Master’s Graduate Stream: For individuals who received Master’s degrees from an Ontario University
- Ph.D. Graduate Stream: For individuals who received Ph.D.'s from an Ontario University.
Note: The Master's Graduate Stream and the Ph.D. Graduate Stream both use Ontario's Expression of Interest (EOI) system
Application Fee: CAD $1,500
Processing Time: 30-60 days
The following are the minimum requirements needed to be eligible through one of the streams under the Human Capital Category:
- Must have enough money to support yourself and your family.
- Must intend to live in Ontario
- Must meet the additional requirements for the stream you are applying for, set out below:
|Category||Is a job offer required?||Express Entry aligned?||Additional Requirements|
|Human Capital Priorities Stream||No||Yes||
|French-Speaking Skilled Worker Stream||No||Yes||
|Skilled Trades Stream||No||Yes||
|Master's Graduate Stream||No||No||
|Ph.D. Graduate Stream||No||No||
How it works:
Once you know which stream you are eligible for, you must register for a ONe-key account on the OINP website.
You will be required to create a profile and then begin your application through the portal, by clicking the file number besides the stream you wish to apply for. You will also need to upload the required documents.
If you are applying for one of the Express Entry streams, you must maintain a valid profile until you are nominated.
If your application is successful, you will be receiving a Nomination Approval Letter and an OINP Certificate of Nomination by email.
For Express Entry Streams: You will then receive your nomination through your Express Entry profile. You will need to accept the nomination, after which you will receive an additional 600 Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) points. This means you will receive an invitation to apply for permanent residence through Express Entry in the next draw.
For Graduate Streams: You will then be required to apply for permanent residence with Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) within six months. Include your nomination approval letter and certificate with your application.
To learn more about eligibility requirements for the OINP Human Capital Priorities stream.
Ontario Express Entry: French-Speaking Skilled Worker Stream
The Ontario French-Speaking Skilled Worker Stream is for French-Speaking skilled workers who have strong English language abilities and who want to live and work permanently in Ontario. This stream enables the OINP to nominate individuals in the Express Entry pool and who have the required education, skilled work experience, language ability, and other characteristics to help them successfully establish and integrate into Ontario’s labour market and communities.
To learn more about eligibility requirements for the OINP French-Speaking Skilled Worker stream.
Ontario Express Entry Skilled Trades Stream
The Ontario Express Entry Skilled Trades stream targets tradespersons with ongoing or recent experience of working in Ontario.
Learn more about the eligibility requirements of the OINP Express Entry Skilled Trades Stream.
Employer Job Offer Category
Through this category, Ontario employers are able to recruit foreign workers for approved skilled positions (classified by the Government of Canada as NOC Skill Type 0 or Skill Level A or B). These employees may be living abroad or in Canada at the time of application.
Ontario has also launched the Employer Job Offer In-Demand Skills Stream, which targets workers in certain agriculture and construction occupations. Learn more about the Ontario Employer Job Offer In-Demand Skills Stream.
The following three programs exist under the Employer Job Offer Category:
- Foreign worker stream: for skilled workers;
- International students: for recent graduates of Ontario post-secondary institutions;
- In-demand skills stream: for intermediate skilled workers in certain sectors, such as agriculture, construction, trucking and personal support workers.
|Stream||Application Fee||Processing Time|
|Foreign Worker Stream
& In-Demand Skills Stream
|CAD $1,500 if the job offer is outside the Greater Toronto Area.
CAD $2,000 if the job offer is within the Greater Toronto Area (City of Toronto, Durham, Halton, York and Peel regions)
|International Student Stream||CAD $1,500||90-120 days|
- Must have a full-time, permanent job offer in an eligible occupation in Ontario;
- Must have work experience, licence or other authorization that is required to perform the job;
- Must intend to live in Ontario;
- Employer must meet additional requirements (business, revenue, employment).
|Category||Is a job offer required?||Additional Requirements|
|Foreign Worker Stream||Yes||
|In-Demand Skills Stream||Yes||
|Skilled Trades Stream||Yes||
How it works:
You are first required to create a profile on the OINP e-Filing Portal, and register your Expression of Interest (EOI).
Ontario regularly holds provincial draws to invite the highest-ranking candidates in the pool. If you are invited, you will receive a notification in the portal and you will have to submit your application within 14 calendar days. You can submit your application through your ONe-key account.
Ontario Regional Immigration Pilot
The Regional Immigration Pilot works as part of the Employer Job Offer Category. The pilot helps Ontario attract and retain immigrants to rural and small communities in Ontario to fill labour shortages. It also supports the growth of the economy of in these communities.
This pilot is for people who have a job offer from an employer in a pilot community. Ontario has 150 nomination spaces for 2021 available.
There are three pilot communities that are part of the Ontario Regional Immigration Pilot:
- Cities of Belleville and Quinte West;
- City of Cornwall.
To be eligible to immigrate to Ontario through its Regional Immigration Pilot, you must:
- Have a full-time, permanent job offer from an employer in one of the pilot communities;
- Meet the criteria for one of the Employer Job Offer streams.
If you wish to apply for the pilot, you first must register an Expression of Interest (EOI). When you are doing so, you will be asked if you intend to apply under the Regional Immigration Pilot.
International Student Category
This category is for students from abroad. The International Students category accepts applications under the following three streams:
International Student with a Job Offer Stream
This stream was created to help employers recruit international students. It is open to Ontario employers and students with job offers in the province.
International Masters Graduate Stream
This stream targets individuals who have graduated with a Master’s degree from one of Ontario’s publicly funded universities. A job offer is not required.
To learn more about eligibility requirements for the OINP International Masters Graduate Stream.
International PhD Graduate Stream
This stream targets individuals who have graduated from a PhD program at one of Ontario’s publicly funded universities. A job offer is not required.
To learn more about eligibility requirements for the OINP International PhD Graduate Stream.
This stream is designed to attract individuals who are looking to implement a new business initiative or buy an existing business in Ontario. Successful applicants will obtain a temporary work permit support letter – based on a performance agreement – to establish the business in Ontario. If the investment and job creation agreements outlined in the performance agreement are adhered to, entrepreneurs will have the opportunity to be nominated for Canadian permanent resident status.
To learn more about eligibility requirements for the OINP Entrepreneur Stream.
This stream aims to help and support established international corporations looking to expand into Ontario or buy an existing business. Once the business has been successfully established, key staff are eligible to apply for a provincial nomination certificate, allowing them to eventually become permanent residents of Canada.
To learn more about eligibility requirements for the OINP Corporate Stream.
The Business Category is for those who wish to start a business or buy an existing business in Ontario. There is currently only one stream under the Business Category - Entrepreneur Stream.
Application Fee: CAD $3,500
EOI Assessment: Less than 30 days
Application: Depends on how complex the application is.
- Must have business experience of 24 months in the last 60 months
- Must have a net worth of CAD $800,000 if the business will be located in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) OR CAD $400,000 if the business will be located outside the GTA
- Must make a minimum personal investment of CAD $600,000 if the business will be located in the GTA OR CAD $200,000 if the business will be located outside the GTA
- Must control at least one-third of the equity in the business.
- Must be actively involved in the management of the business
- The main purpose of investing must be to make profit
- Must create at least two permanent full-time jobs for Canadian citizens or permanent residents, if the business will be in GTA, OR one permanent full-time job if the business will be outside the GTA. If the business is in the information and communications sector, or digital communications sector, only one full-time job is required, regardless of location.
- Must meet additional requirements if you are purchasing an existing business.
How it works:
You must first submit an Expression of Interest (EOI) by contacting the OINP by email and request a copy of the registration form. You will be required to complete the form and send it back by email.
You will then be placed in a pool and will be ranked against other candidates. Ontario regularly holds draws where the highest-ranked candidates are invited to submit an application to the Entrepreneur Stream, through the OINP e-Filing Portal.
You will also need to hire a qualified vendor to review your personal net worth and legal accumulation of funds.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Does the Ontario PNP need a job offer?
Ontario’s Human Capital Category does not require a job offer. This includes the following streams:
- Human Capital Priorities Stream
- French-Speaking Skilled Worker Stream
- Skilled Trades Stream
- Master’s Graduate Stream
- PhD Graduate Stream.
However, Ontario’s Employer Job Offer Category is for candidates who have an eligible job offer in Ontario from an employer who is willing to nominate them.
2. How does the Ontario PNP work?
For the Human Capital Category (except the Masters Graduate Stream and the PhD Graduate Stream), you are required to register for a ONe-key account on the Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program (OINP) website.
Create a profile, start your application on the website and upload the required documents. If you’re successful, you’ll receive a Nomination Approval Letter, a work permit support letter and a nomination certificate by email.
You’ll then have to submit an application to Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) within six months and include your letter and certificate.
If you are an Express Entry candidate, you will also receive your nomination through the Express Entry system, receive additional points and an invitation to apply in a subsequent draw.
For the Employer Job Offer Category, you must first create a profile on the OINP e-Filing Portal, and register your Expression of Interest (EOI).
Ontario regularly holds provincial draws to invite the highest-ranking candidates in the pool. If you are invited, you will receive a notification in the portal and you will have to submit your application within 14 calendar days.
As for the Business Category, however, you will have to submit an Expression of Interest first by contacting the OINP by email and asking for a registration form. Complete the form and email it back.
You will be placed in a pool and will be ranked against other candidates. Ontario regularly holds draws where the highest-ranked candidates are invited to submit an application to the Entrepreneur Stream, through the OINP e-Filing Portal.
You will also need to hire a qualified vendor to review your personal net worth and legal accumulation of funds.
3. How can I apply for the Ontario PNP through Express Entry?
If you have a profile on the federal Express Entry system and are interested in immigrating to Ontario, you must first register for an ONE-key account on the Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program (OINP) website.
You will have to create a new profile, and choose to apply through the stream you are eligible for.
Next, upload your documents.
If you are successful, you will receive a Nomination Approval Letter, a work permit support letter and a nomination certificate by email.
You will also receive your nomination through the Express Entry system. Once you accept, you will receive an additional 600 points. This effectively guarantees that you will be invited to apply for permanent residence in a subsequent Express Entry draw.
4. Is the Ontario PNP easy?
There are several streams to choose from when deciding to immigrate to Ontario through the Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program (OINP).
It is unlikely that one person is eligible for all streams. For this reason, it is important to learn about the stream that you are eligible for. That will be the “easiest" stream for your particular situation.
5. How long does the Ontario PNP take?
Processing time for the Human Capital Category is 30-60 days.
For the Employer Job Offer Category, it takes 60-90 days, except for the International Student stream which takes 90-120 days.
For the Business Category, the Expression of Interest (EOI) takes less than 30 days to process but the processing time for the application depends on how complex the application is.
6. How can I qualify for the Ontario PNP?
There are multiple ways to qualify to immigrate to Ontario through its PNP program. It is important to know the different immigration categories that you may be eligible for.
Ontario’s Human Capital Category is for
- skilled workers
- French-speaking skilled workers
- master’s graduates
- Ph.D. graduates
You don’t need a job offer to qualify for one of the streams under the Human Capital Category.
If you do have a job offer from an employer willing to nominate you, then you may qualify through the Employer Job Offer Category. It doesn’t matter where you live at the time of application.
If you’re looking to start a business in Ontario, or purchase an existing business, then you may consider the Business Category.
For each of these options, it is important that you first check if you are eligible before taking any further steps.
7. Is Ontario PNP open now?
Streams under the province’s Employer Job Offer Category, as well as the Master’s Graduate and PhD Graduate streams under the Human Capital Category, now operate with an Expression of Interest (EOI) system. This means that interested candidates can register their interest on the province’s website. You can do this at any time throughout the year, and your registration will remain valid for 12 months.
The remaining streams under the Human Capital Category operate through the federal Express Entry system. All of these streams are currently open.
8. When does Ontario PNP open?
All streams are currently accepting applications.
9. Why immigrate to Ontario?
There are many reasons why you may want to immigrate to Ontario. For example, the province’s capital, Toronto, is one of the most diverse cities in the world. In fact, over half of the population were born outside of Canada.
In addition, there are many job opportunities in Toronto and neighboring cities. There are many major corporations with their Canadian headquarters based in Toronto such as Apple, Coca Cola, Google, Microsoft, ASUS, Intel, SAP and Citibank. Key industries include finance, technology, film and media, and tourism.
Ontario also boasts some of the best universities in the world including the University of Toronto, the University of York, McMaster University, the University of Waterloo, the University of Ottawa, Ryerson University, Carelton University, the University of Guelph, as well as others.
10. What are some popular colleges in Ontario?
Some popular colleges in Ontario include:
- Seneca College;
- George Brown College;
- Humber College;
- Centennial College;
- Niagara College;
- Canadore College;
- Mohawk College.