Ontario Immigration

The provincial nominee program in this province is called Opportunities Ontario and was launched in February 2009. It supports Ontario employers by facilitating the immigration of managerial, professional and skilled foreign workers and international students required to meet their human resources needs.
There are three streams under which candidates can apply for Ontario Nomination; these are Ontario’s general immigration stream, International Student stream and the investor’s stream.

Ontario General Immigration Category

This is an employer-driven program.

First, Employers apply for the approval of a permanent full-time position to be filled by a foreign national. Once the position has been approved, the foreign national recruited then submits a nominee application (for which there is a $2000 processing fee if the employer is in the Greater Toronto Area and $1500 if the employer is located outside of the aforementioned zone).

The Ontario employer can recruit individuals who would qualify under either the General Category or under the International Student Category

To be eligible to apply for Ontario nomination as a foreign worker, candidates must have:

  • A full-time job offer, for which they are qualified, from an approved Ontario employer in a skilled occupation (listed as NOC A, B, or 0);
  • At least 2 years of work experience or have appropriate registration in Ontario (if the occupation is regulated in Ontario);
  • Received an Employer Pre-Screen Approved Position Form, along with the nominee application package from the Ontario employer;
  • An offered wage that meets the prevailing wage level in Ontario for the occupation;
  • Legal status, if the prospective nominee is in Canada.

Ontario International Student Immigration Category

The process for this category is the same as the General Category.

To be eligible to apply for an Ontario nomination as an international Student, candidates must:

  • Have completed at least half of their studies in Canada;
  • Be in their last semester of post-secondary studies;
  • Or have completed their studies in Canada within two years.

A $1500 processing fee is charged for applications submitted under this category.

International graduates from certain PhD programs in Ontario who have completed at least two years of their PhD Studies in Ontario may be eligible to apply for Ontario Nomination without a job offer.

International graduates from Ontario Masters programs who have completed a program of at least one year in the province, are currently residing there, demonstrate a high level of English or French and are no longer pursuing studies may also apply for Ontario Nomination without a job offer under the Pilot International Masters Graduate Stream.

Ontario Investors Immigration Category

This program is available for both individual investors and companies who are able to make an
Investment in Ontario.

i. Companies

To qualify, investments must be of significant importance to Ontario and must create jobs for Ontarians. New investments and expansions to current operations are eligible. Investments need to meet the following eligibility guidelines:

  • The investment must be endorsed by another Ontario ministry at the Deputy Minister level for the investment and the number of key positions requested;
  • The amount of the investment is at least $3,000,000;
  • The investment must create at least five net permanent full-time jobs for Canadian citizens or permanent residents in Ontario;
  • The investment has to also comply with Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations (IRPR). This federal law excludes individuals from provincial nomination who:
    • are nominated because of capital provision, or
    • engage in an “immigration-linked investment scheme”.

ii. Individual Investors

To qualify for a provincial nomination, individual investors must meet all of the following eligibility criteria, in addition to the above criteria:

  • Be actively involved, on an ongoing basis, in the management of the business;
  • Control, or will control, at least 33.334% of the equity in the business, or make a minimum $1 million investment in the business;
  • Not have the option of redeeming the investment after a specified period;
  • Invest the capital in the business not for the primary purpose of deriving interest, dividends or capital gains.

Investment Nominee Positions being considered for approval by Opportunities Ontario must:

  • Be necessary for the long-term success of the investment;
  • Be in a skilled occupation;
  • Be permanent, full-time positions;
  • Meet prevailing wage levels. Information about wages for a variety of professions can be found on the Service Canada Labour Market Information website.

Ontario PNP Processing times

  • Complete employer application packages will be processed within 90 days, on a first-come-first-served basis.
  • Complete nominee application packages will be processed within 90 days, on a first-come-first-served basis.
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