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 — PhD 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 PhD 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 PhD 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.

New online application process
The government of Ontario has introduced an online application system, with the goal of making it easier to apply while also improving customer service and processing times. Applicants to the International Masters Graduate and International PhD Graduate streams may submit an application online as of February 21.

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