Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program Reopening Soon – Are you ready?

The Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program (OINP) Employer Job Offer streams are an alternative pathway to permanent residence, typically for those who do not qualify for Express Entry or do not have a high enough Comprehensive Ranking Score (CRS) to receive an invitation to apply through Express Entry.

The OINP Employer Job Offer streams are employer-driven, meaning that the employer must meet certain eligibility criteria. They are:

  • Must have been in active business for at least three years
  • Must have at least $1 million in gross annual revenue in the last fiscal year ($500,000 if the location of employment is outside the GTA)
  • Must have at least five full-time employees who are Canadian citizens or permanent residents at the foreign national’s work location (three if the location of employment is outside the GTA)

There is an Employer Job Offer stream for foreign workers with at least two years of related work experience in their current occupation, and one for new graduates who have completed postsecondary education in Canada within the last two years. Neither have minimum language requirements which is hugely helpful for candidates with weaker language skills.

The Employer Job Offer streams are subject to annual quotas and have remained closed since September 23, 2019 due to high demand. The streams were also closed from April 27 to August 27, 2019, again due to processing volumes. They are expected to reopen in early 2020. We strongly recommend that employers prepare their applications in advance so that they can be submitted as soon as the program reopens, as there is no way to know how long the streams will remain open before they are closed again.

The OINP also has three Ontario’s Express Entry streams, which are designed for individuals with a valid Express Entry profile but a score that is not high enough to receive an invitation to apply. These streams have remained open throughout the year. From time to time, OINP will issue Notifications of Interest (NOI) to Express Entry candidates inviting them to apply for a nomination certificate. The nomination certificate is worth an extra 600 points, so the candidate is essentially guaranteed an invitation to apply for permanent residence through Express Entry. It is worth noting, however, that since January 1, 2019 OINP has only issued five rounds of NOIs, and four of them targeted specific occupations (technology professionals and certain financial and administrative professionals). No candidates with CRS scores below 435 were considered. This is less than ideal news for individuals with scores in the low 400s. As of November 23, 2019, there were 133,848 active Express Entry profiles in the pool. Of these, 58,138 had scores at or under 430. These numbers confirm that there is a huge interest in Canada and there are very qualified candidates for permanent residence from all over the world in the pool. It was not very long ago that a score of 430 was enough to receive an invitation to apply for permanent residence. This is no longer the case and more and more employers are finding that they have employees who are having difficulty receiving an invitation. We believe that this will result in even greater demand for the OINP streams.

We believe it is a good practice for employers hiring foreign nationals to ensure there is a permanent residence strategy in place at the beginning of the employment relationship. The absence of such a strategy could result in costly and time-consuming extension applications or even business disruption, should the employee be unable to secure an extension of his/her work permit.

Corporate Immigration Law Firm – is experienced in advising employers and foreign nationals on immigration issues. This year we were once again named one of Canada’s top 10 boutique immigration firms by Canadian Lawyer Magazine. Contact one of our immigration lawyers today for assistance.