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Ontario: Open Opportunities

Ontario has created a province-specific migration stream designed to target individuals in Canada's Express Entry selection system including a selection stream that does not require a job offer. Submit your profile. Blow your horn.

Originally posted on October 24, 2016; updated October 26, 2016

Ontario: Open Opportunities

Ontario describes itself as “the most multicultural province in Canada, where half of all new immigrants make their home” – and with good reasons.

Slightly right of center in Canada’s map, Ontario has the most populous city (Toronto) and home to the capital city – Ottawa: 12 million people in 1 million square kilometer land area, migrants from 200 countries speaking 130 languages.

Ontario leads in manufacturing and is the center of Canada’s financial and banking industry, with tourism, science and the arts emphasizing the province’s culture and diversity enhanced by spectacular scenery represented by Niagara Falls, among the top 8 wonders of the world.

If that's music to your ears, here's more listening pleasure. 

As the number of new immigrants choosing Ontario as their province of destination in 2014 tapered to 36% from more than half in 2003, Ontario now rivals Manitoba and British Columbia in attracting applicants through province-specific migration schemes.

Which Canadian Provinces New Immigrants Call Home










119,723 / 54%


95,814 / 37%


39,555 / 18%


50,294 / 19%

British Columbia

35,229 /  16%


35,170 /  14%


6,503 /  3%


16,223 /  6%

Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program (OINP)

While some Canadian provinces allow applicants or candidates to apply directly with a specific provincial nomination scheme (especially provinces with published occupations in demand) Ontario’s nomination scheme is basically employer-driven.

Ontario “offers an opportunity for employers to recruit and retain highly skilled foreign workers and qualifying international students for permanent, full-time jobs.”  To select applicants for specific occupations, employers have the option of using the General Category stream or explore the international student route (See Student to Resident Pathway, below).

Ontario’s Immigrant Nominee Program (OINP) is “an economic immigration program designed to help Ontario meet its labor market and economic development priorities.” Individuals with high level of education, qualification, skills, experience and language proficiency will find migrating to Canada faster and easier in Ontario with or without job offers.


With a wide and solid base of employers in the manufacturing, IT, banking, finance and tourism industries, qualified individuals with completed candidate profiles in the Express Entry selection system could be nominated by the provincial government or employers needing to fill occupations in demand in various industries.

For example, only Ontario allows Express Entry candidates with 400 points a pathway to residency through the nomination program. On the federal level, the lowest minimum (threshold) points set for candidates to be invited to apply for residency has been 451 (on July 17, 2015). 

This year the threshold score had never gone below 482 (July 2016). The last draw – October 19 – set the threshold at 475.

Therefore, applicants whose points total would at least be 400 have the chance of being nominated in Ontario but only after completing their candidate profile in the Express Entry and receiving their reference or candidate validation number.

Student to Resident Pathway

International students in Canada may qualify for residency after completing the specified curation for an academic program.  Canada also allows international students to work part time 20 hours a week during school days and work full time during off-school periods.

Graduates of post-secondary academic programs could gain experience after completing their course during the post-graduation-work permit-period.  This privilege of access to employers during and after studies enhance a student’s chance of getting a job offer.  An arranged offer of employment earns an Express Entry applicant 500 points and a virtual lock towards an invitation towards permanent residency.

No Job Offer Needed

International students who completes a Masters or Doctorate degree in Ontario would not need to have a job offer to qualify for nomination in the province under the International Graduate Stream.

Ontario Express Entry (OEE)

As an attractive supplement to the federal government’s Express Entry selection system, Ontario created its own Express Entry-based streams to further enhance its ability to recruit the desired skilled workers to the province.

The two streams are the (1) Human Capital Priorities Stream and (2) French-Speaking Skilled Worker Stream.

The Human Capital Priorities Stream targets 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.”

To be considered under OEE, an applicant must have already submitted a complete candidate profile and completed registration in the Express Entry pool.  A Candidate Profile Identification Number (after submitting the Express Entry application) is issued after completion of registration.

OINP searches the Express Entry pool and identifies potential candidates who have a minimum score of 400 on the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) in CIC’s Express Entry system, and meet Ontario’s criteria under the Human Capital Priorities Stream.

Candidates identified for nomination are issued a PT Notification of Interest from Ontario and must accept the nomination within 30 days. Nomination from Ontario gives the candidate an additional 600 CRS points, virtually assuring an invitation to apply for permanent residency from Citizenship and Immigration Canada.

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