Logo of Chang and Boos
HomeAbout UsResourcesImmigration BlogsContact UsSearchWeb LinksDisclaimer





Bookmark and Share


Follow us on Twitter

Canada Immigration:
Ontario Provincial Nominee Program
(Opportunities Ontario)

Written by Henry J. Chang
Updated on October 25, 2010

Introduction

On February 20, 2009, the Ontario Pilot Provincial Nominee Program became "Opportunities Ontario." Significant changes were implemented on this date; these changes are described in greater detail below.

Number of Nominees

Prior to February 20, 2009, the annual limit for provincial nominees was 500. However, under the current rules, Opportunities Ontario may nominate up to 1,000 applicants per year.

Available Categories

The General Category

To be eligible as a foreign worker under the General Category, prospective nominees must demonstrate that they qualify for the approved position by providing evidence that they have:

  1. At least 2 years of work experience or have appropriate registration in Ontario, if applying for a position in a regulated occupation in Ontario.
  2. An approved permanent full-time job offer in a skilled occupation (NOC 0, A or B).
  3. An offered wage which meets the prevailing wage level for the intended occupation.
  4. Legal status, if the prospective nominee is in Canada.
  5. Received an Employer Pre-Screen Approved Position Form, along with the nominee application package from an approved employer.

Prior to February 20, 2009, the employer category for foreign workers included only eligible 20 occupations in the health, education, manufacturing, and construction sectors. Under the current rules, any skilled occupation may now qualify.

A prospective nominee has 60 days after the date of issue of the Employer Pre-screen Approved Position Form to submit a completed application to Opportunities Ontario. If the nominee application is not received in connection with a position after 60 days, Opportunities Ontario may reassign the nominee position. However, if a prospective nominee cannot submit a completed application within 60 days, either the nominee or the approved employer may, in writing to Opportunities Ontario, request an extension of 30 days, providing reasons for the extension request. Approval of the extension is discretionary and no further extension will be granted.

Opportunities Ontario will charge a non-refundable processing fee, payable with each nominee application. The fee is $2,000.00 for all General Category applicants who will be working for an employer located in the Greater Toronto Area ("GTA") and $1,500.00 for all General Category applicants who will be working for an employer located outside the GTA. A provincial nomination certificate will be issued for all successful nominees, who must then apply to Citizenship and Immigration Canada ("CIC") for permanent residence.

The International Student Category

General International Student Stream

In order to apply to Opportunities Ontario as an international student, students must:

  1. Have completed at least half of their studies in Canada, and have graduated or will soon be graduating from an eligible publicly funded Canadian college or university (students must send proof of graduation with their application).
  2. Have completed a minimum of a two-year diploma or degree program, while studying on a full-time basis. One-year post-graduate degree programs and certificate programs, which require a previous degree or diploma (which may have been obtained abroad), are also eligible.
  3. Have a job offer in a managerial, professional or skilled trades occupation (NOC 0, A or B). The job offer does not have to be related to the field of study.
  4. Have a job offer that is permanent and full-time and meets the entry level wage for the occupation, rather than the prevailing wage required for applicants in the General Category.
  5. Apply within two years of the date on which they received their degree or diploma, or in the alternative, during the last semester of completing their degree or diploma (in which case they will have to provide transcripts which indicate that they will be graduating at the end of the semester).
  6. Have legal status, if the prospective international student nominee is in Canada.
  7. Have received an Employer Pre-Screen Approved Position Form with the nominee application package from an approved employer.

International students do not need to have any previous work experience.

Prior to February 19, 2009, the proposed job offer had to be related to the field of study in Canada. Under the current rules, the prospective job offer no longer needs to be related to the field of study in Canada.

International students subsidized through the Canadian International Development Agency grants or home country scholarship with return obligations will not be eligible for Opportunities Ontario unless such obligations have been fulfilled.

International Ph.D. Graduate Stream

On April 21, 2010, Opportunities Ontario (Ontario's Provincial Nominee Program) announced that International PhD graduates who have graduated from a publicly-funded Ontario university will now be permitted to apply without a job offer. Opportunities Ontario has created the International PhD Graduate Stream for this purpose. In order to apply to Opportunities Ontario as an international PhD graduate in Ontario, students must:

  1. Have graduated from an existing PhD program at an eligible publicly funded university in Ontario or have successfully completed all degree requirements for the program (i.e completion of course work and successfully defended their thesis and are awaiting the granting of their degree);
  2. Have completed at least two years of their PhD studies at an eligible publicly funded university in Ontario;
  3. Apply within two years of the date on which their PhD degree was granted; and
  4. Have legal status, if the international PhD graduate applicant is in Canada.

International students subsidized through the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) grants or home country scholarship with return obligations will not be eligible for Opportunities Ontario unless such obligations have been fulfilled.

Ontario international PhD students may apply for the program from within Canada or from overseas.

Master's Graduate Stream

As of June 14, 2010, international students who graduated or will soon be graduating from a Master's program from one of Ontario’s publicly funded universities, can now apply for nomination as a permanent resident, under the International Student Category’s Master's Graduate Stream. The student will not require a job offer in order to apply for a nomination.

In order to apply to Opportunities Ontario as an international Master's graduate in Ontario, students must:
  1. Intend to live and work in Ontario;
  2. Have graduated from an existing Master's program at an eligible publicly funded university in Ontario;
  3. Have completed a minimum of one academic year degree program, while studying on a full-time basis;
  4. Apply within two years of the date on which their Master's degree was granted, or, during the last semester of completing their degree;
  5. Currently be residing in Ontario;
  6. Have legal status in Canada (i.e. study permit, work permit, temporary resident visa);
  7. Demonstrate high official language proficiency (For English language proficiency – IELTS – General test with a minimum band score of 7 or higher) (For French language proficiency – TEF – with a minimum score of 5 or higher);
  8. Demonstrate a minimum level of savings/income to support themselves and their dependants (currently $11,086 for a single person);
  9. Demonstrate at least one year of residence in Ontario in the past two years; and
  10. Not have return obligations under Canadian International Development Agency grants or home country scholarships.

International students subsidized through the Canadian International Development Agency grants or home country scholarship with return obligations will not be eligible for Opportunities Ontario unless such obligations have been fulfilled.

Procedure

A prospective nominee has 60 days after the date of issue of the Employer Pre-screen Approved Position Form to submit a completed application to Opportunities Ontario. If the nominee application is not received in connection with a position after 60 days, Opportunities Ontario may reassign the nominee position. However, if a prospective nominee cannot submit a completed application within 60 days, either the nominee or the approved employer may, in writing to Opportunities Ontario, request an extension of 30 days, providing reasons for the extension request. Approval of the extension is discretionary and no further extension will be granted.

Opportunities Ontario will charge a non-refundable nominee application processing fee of $1,500.00 for all international students. A provincial nomination certificate will be issued for all successful nominees, who must then apply to CIC for permanent residence. Eligible international students may apply for an approved position from within Canada or from overseas.

The Investor Category

Investors establishing or expanding operations in Ontario may be able to take advantage of Opportunities Ontario, if:

  1. They obtain an official endorsement from an Ontario ministry for the investment and the number of positions requested.
  2. The size of the investment is at least $3 million and will create at least 5 net permanent, full-time jobs for Canadian citizens or permanent residents located in Ontario.
  3. The investment is not of a "passive investment proposal" type.
Investor nominee positions being considered for approval by Opportunities Ontario must:

  1. Be permanent, full-time positions;
  2. Be in a skilled occupation (NOC 0, A, or B);
  3. Meet prevailing wage levels. Information about wages for a variety of professions can be found on the Service Canada Labour Market Information website;
  4. Not affect the settlement of any labour dispute or affect the employment of a person involved in such a dispute, or adversely affect employment or training opportunities for Canadian citizens or permanent residents of Ontario; and
  5. Be necessary for the long-term success of the investment.

Investors can request multiple positions. They can request one position for every job created for Canadian citizens or permanent residents located in Ontario, up to a maximum of 25 nominee positions.

Investors must first apply for an endorsement of their investment. The Province of Ontario endorses eligible investments by completing and submitting the Investment Endorsement Form, along with the endorsed business proposal or plan, to Opportunities Ontario. Upon receiving a completed Investment Endorsement Form, investors will receive a nominee application package for each approved investor nominee position. Normally, investors will have 60 days to recruit individuals to fill these positions; however, there can be an extension of 30 days for employers who need it.

Recruited individuals submit a nominee application package to Opportunities Ontario for assessment. All nominees under this category will be charged a non-refundable application fee of $3,500.00. A Provincial Nomination Certificate will be issued for all successful nominees, who must then apply to CIC for permanent residence.

Prior to February 19, 2009, an investor was required to invest at least $10 million and create at least 25 net permanent full-time jobs; in addition, the Ministry of International Trade and Investment assessed and endorsed all investments. Under the current rules, an investor is now required to invest at least $3 million and create at least 5 net permanent full-time jobs; any ministry can now assess and endorse the investment.

HomeAbout UsResourcesBlogsContact UsSearchWeb LinksDisclaimer