Many international graduates from publicly-funded universities in Ontario now have a further option for permanent immigration. The International Student — Masters Graduate and International Student — Ph.D. Graduate streams of the Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program (OINP) reopened on February 21, 2017. This is the first time these two streams have opened since a temporary pause took effect on May 9, 2016.
In reopening these two streams that target talented and highly-educated individuals, the Ontario government is recognizing that international graduates are desirable as future newcomers to the province. Having already established themselves in the province through their studies, and in many cases through employment, international graduates may find themselves in a prime position to settle and integrate successfully into Ontario’s labour market and society.
One of the most attractive characteristics of these OINP streams is that a candidate does not require a job offer in order to be eligible. Moreover, a candidate does not have to be residing in Ontario at the time of application. While this was previously the case for candidates under the International Ph.D. Graduate category, it represents a new and more relaxed criterion for International Masters Graduate candidates.
Previously, candidates under this latter stream were required to be living in Ontario at the time of application. International Ph.D. Graduate candidates may be residing anywhere in Canada or outside Canada; International Masters Graduate candidates may be residing outside Canada (however, if they are residing in Canada but outside Ontario, they are not eligible to apply).
Successful applicants to these two streams receive a ‘base’ provincial nomination certificate, putting them in a position to submit an application for permanent residence to the federal government. The term ‘base’ refers to the fact that the streams are not aligned with the federal Express Entry system, but still provide a route to Canadian permanent resident status.
Another popular stream of the OINP, the Express Entry Human Capital Priorities Stream, also reopened on February 21. This stream issues Notifications of Interest to candidates in the Express Entry pool whose profiles meet the province’s requirements. To learn more about the opening of the Human Capital Priorities Stream, consult this comprehensive article.
|International Masters Graduates||Ph.D Graduates|
|Must intend to live and work in Ontario||Must intend to live and work in Ontario|
|Must have graduated from an existing Master’s program at an eligible publicly funded university in OntarioThe program of study must have been at least one year in length and must have been completed on a full-time basis||Must have successfully completed all PhD program requirements at an eligible publicly-funded university in OntarioAt least two years of PhD studies must have been completed at the Ontario university|
|Must submit the application within two years of the date on which the Masters degree was granted||Must submit the application within two years of the date on which the PhD was granted|
|Must have legal status (i.e. study permit, work permit, visitor record) if living in Ontario at the time of the applicationApplicants may be living outside Canada at the time of application; however, individuals living in Canada but outside Ontario are ineligible to applyCandidates do not need to have legal status in Canada if they are applying from outside Canada||Must have legal status (i.e. study permit, work permit, visitor record) if living in Canada at the time of the applicationApplicants to this stream do not have to be living in Canada at the time of applicationCandidates do not need to have legal status in Canada if they are applying from outside Canada|
|Must demonstrate an adequate intermediate proficiency level in English or French of Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) 7 or above in all four competencies (speaking, reading, writing, and listening)|
|Must be able to show a minimum level of savings and/or income in order to support themselves and their dependents|
|Must show that they have resided in Ontario for at least 12 cumulative months in the 24 months before submitting an application|