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Ontario Provincial Nominee Program

Opportunities Ontario Provincial Nominee Program (Ontario PNP)

The Opportunities Ontario Provincial Nominee Program (Ontario PNP) is an immigration program run by the Province of Ontario. It is mainly intended to facilitate applications for permanent residence for foreign nationals who are already in Ontario with legal temporary resident status, either as workers or students. However, it can also be used to facilitate permanent residence for temporary residents in other parts of Canada, including visitors to Canada, and also foreign nationals residing outside Canada.

General Category

There are two basic types of applicants who can qualify under the General Category: (1) foreign workers, and (2) students.

The General Category of the Ontario PNP is employer-driven, meaning that it is up to Ontario businesses to nominate foreigners that they wish to employ at their companies. The foreign national could be an individual outside Canada, a temporary worker or student in Canada, or a person legally visiting Canada. However, before an Ontario business can nominate any foreigner for permanent residence, they must first make an application to the Ontario PNP to be approved to nominate a foreign worker.

Foreign Workers

To apply for permanent residence as a Foreign Worker, the applicant must have the following:

  1. Job offer in a skilled occupation from a pre-approved company operating in Ontario,
  2. Legal temporary status, if in Canada,
  3. At least 2 years of work experience in the intended occupation, or a license in a regulated occupation.

Provincial Nominee ProgramThe application process is two-part, requiring the employer and employee to obtain approval by the Ontario PNP, after which Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) will process the application for permanent residence, including conducting medical examinations and background checks. Processing times will vary, but Ontario PNP approval for both the employer and the worker will take about 6 months, after which CIC processing will take about 10 months. Once nominated as a foreign worker by the Ontario PNP, the foreigner may apply for a work permit to enable them to work while the final stage of their application is processed by CIC. The Ontario PNP will issue a letter to facilitate this process.


Foreign Students

An Ontario business can also nominate an international student who is studying in Canada or has studied in Canada. Like the foreign worker category, the pre-approved Ontario company extends a job offer to the foreign student who may then apply for permanent residence on this basis.

To qualify, the foreign student must meet the following criteria:

  1. At least half of the student’s studies must have been completed at a publicly-funded Canadian college or university; and
  2. The student has completed at least a two-year diploma or degree while studying full time; or
  3. The student has completed at least a one-year post-graduate degree or certificate which first requires obtaining a previous degree; and
  4. The student has an offer of permanent, full-time employment in a skilled occupation (Note: the position does not have to be related to the field of study); and
  5. The application is made within two years from the date of graduation (Note: the student can apply during the last semester of studies).

The application process is the same process as for foreign workers, as described above. The student can also apply for a work permit once approved by the Ontario PNP and while waiting for CIC to process their application for permanent residence.

Ph.D. and Master’s Graduates in Ontario

An additional program offered by the Ontario PNP is to allow foreign students who have completed a Ph.D. or Master’s degree in Ontario to apply directly for permanent residence. To qualify, the graduate:

  1. Must have graduated within the past two years, or be about to graduate, from an eligible publicly funded university in Ontario,
  2. Have legal temporary status in Canada.

The specific criteria to qualify depend on whether the graduate is a Ph.D. student or a Master’s student.

Ph.D Graduates

  1. Must have completed at least two years of their Ph.D. studies in Ontario,
  2. May apply under the program both from within Canada or from overseas.

Master’s Graduates

  1. Must have completed a program of at least one academic year, while studying full time,
  2. Currently reside in Ontario,
  3. Demonstrate high official language proficiency,
  4. Demonstrate a minimum level of income or savings,
  5. Demonstrate at least one year of residence in Ontario in the past two years.

Unlike those nominated by employers, graduates applying under the Ph.D. or Master’s stream are not entitled to a work permit once nominated, but must wait for permanent residence prior to starting to work, unless they are otherwise able to obtain a work permit.


Business investors willing to make a significant investment in Ontario that will create jobs may nominate themselves or other foreign workers for permanent residence in Canada. To qualify as an investor, the following criteria must be met:

  1. The investment must be approved by an Ontario ministry,
  2. The amount of the investment must be at least $3,000,000,
  3. The investment must create at least 5 jobs for Canadian citizens or permanent residents in Ontario.

Companies investing in Ontario can nominate 1 foreigner for the first 5 Canadians that they employ on a full-time basis, and then can nominate an additional 1 foreigner for every 1 Canadian they employ after that, up to a maximum of 25 nominee positions.

Investors can also nominate themselves. In such an instance they must personally contribute at least a one-third portion of the $3,000,000 required, and must meet the following criteria:

  1. Be actively involved, on an on-going basis, in the management of the business,
  2. Control, or will control, at least 33% of the equity of the business, or make a minimum $1 million investment in the business,
  3. Not have the option of redeeming the investment after a specified period,
  4. Invest in the business not for the primary purpose of deriving interest, dividends, or capital gains (should not be a passive investment).

As with other types of applicants, once nominate by the Ontario PNP, the Investor applicant will apply for permanent residence with CIC, who will require medical examinations and background checks prior to issuing permanent residence.

The Ontario PNP program is a useful program to facilitate permanent residence applications for those who are able to secure employment in Ontario, are graduating from Master’s or Ph.D. programs in Ontario, or who wish to make a business investment in Ontario. As such, the program compliments the more established programs offered by Citizenship and Immigration Canada, and may be used as an alternative to those programs in the appropriate circumstances and for those who qualify.

Ontario Human Capital Priority Stream


The Ontario Human Capital Priorities Stream is for skilled workers who want to live and work permanently in Ontario. This stream enables the Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program (OINP) to nominate individuals who have qualified for Citizenship and Immigration Canada’s (CIC’s) 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.

Steps in the Application Process

Those interested in the OHCPS must first register in the CIC’s express entry stream where they will receive an Express Entry Profile Number and a Job Seeker Validation Code (both of which will be needed to complete your OHCPS nomination form).

Ontario Immigration Nomination Program (OINP) searches the Express Entry pool and identifies potential candidates who:

  1. Have a minimum score of 400 on the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) in CIC’s Express Entry system, and
  2. Meet the criteria of Ontario’s Human Capital Priorities Stream (see criteria below).

If you receive a PT Notification of Interest from Ontario through your MyCIC account, you have 45 days to apply to OINP under the Human Capital Priorities Stream. OINP will assess your nomination according to the Human Capital Priorities Stream eligibility criteria.

If your application is approved by Ontario, you will receive a letter from OINP through your MyCIC account notifying you of your nomination. You have 30 days to accept the nomination from Ontario in the Express Entry system. Nomination from Ontario will give you an additional 600 CRS points and you will receive an invitation to apply for permanent residency from CIC. Once you receive an invitation to apply from CIC, you have 60 days to apply to CIC for permanent residency.

Criteria to Apply

Work Experience:

  1. If you are being assessed against the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP) you must have a minimum of one year continuous full-time employment (Or the continuous part time equivalent of one year full time employment ) in the last five years from the date of notification of interest from OINP. The job must have been one with a National Occupation Classification (NOC) of 0, A, or B. The FSWP allows the employment to be inside or outside Canada.
  2. If you are being assessed under the Canadian Experience Class (CEC) a candidate must have a minimum of one year of cumulative and full-time employment (1,560 hours or more) or an equal amount in part-time paid work experience in a NOC 0, A, or B occupation in Canada in the past three years from the date of the PT Notification of Interest from Ontario.


Applicants to either stream must have a Canadian Bachelor’s, Master’s, or Ph. D degree or an Education Credential Assessment (ECA), done no further than five years prior to the application date, indicating your foreign education is equivalent to a Canadian Bachelor’s, Master’s, or Ph. D degree. The CIC will only accept an ECA from Comparative Education Services at the University of Toronto’s School of Continuing Studies, International Credential Assessment Services of Canada, World Education Services, Medical Council of Canada or Pharmacy Examining Board of Canada.


All applicants must have the equivalent language level of Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) 7 or above, in all competences (reading, writing, speaking and listening), in either English or French. Applicants will be expected to provide copies of their language test results. Test results must be current; testing should be done within 24 months of application to ensure the results are current at the time of permanent residency processing.

Express Entry Ranking:

Applicants must have, and maintain, a minimum score of 400 points in the comprehensive ranking system. Applicants should be aware of how personal changes can affect their score (ie. a change in marital status, or work experience falling outside the acceptable eligibility period).

Settlement Funds:

Applicants must possess sufficient, unencumbered, funds to cover settlement costs in Ontario. The minimum amount of funds required is based on the number of family members in an applicant’s household and are in accordance with the Low Income Cut-Off (LICO). To ensure transparency, an applicant should make sure they provide documentation on any bank accounts in, or outside of, Canada.

Intention to Reside in Ontario:

Applicants to either stream must intend to reside in Ontario, as demonstrated by a statement of intent and indication of ties to Ontario. An applicant can demonstrate their ties through, for example, employment, an employment offer, volunteer experience, a lease, or family ties.

If you are interested in applying under the Ontario PNP, please contact us for further information.


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