If you are applying for permanent resident status, chances are that you have heard of the Provincial Nominee Program (“PNP”). Ontario, Canada’s most populous province, had the largest individual PNP allocation of 2018 with 6,600 nominations, a number that was later increased to 6,850 toward the end of the year.This program allows foreign workers, international students and others with the right skills, experience and education to apply for a nomination for permanent residence in Ontario. This article is intended as a guide for international graduates with a master’s degree from an Ontario post-secondary institution and only represents the requirements of the program as of January 31, 2019.
Under the Ontario PNP, if you graduate from a master’s program or a doctorate program, you may qualify under the Masters Graduate Stream or PhD Graduate Stream. These two streams do not require the applicant to have a job offer.
Masters Graduate Stream
To qualify, you must have completed the requirements necessary to get a master’s degree, this means: at least 1 academic year of full-time study from an eligible university. It needs to be noted that if you have received a grant or scholarship that requires you return to your home country after you obtain your master’s degree, you don’t qualify under this stream.
You also don’t qualify under this program if you are currently enrolled in further academic studies, unless it is for the purpose of meeting the requirements to be licensed in a regulated occupation in Ontario, or unless you are working on a full-time basis in Ontario.
You also must be able to demonstrate your proficiency in either English or French.
You must have legally lived in Ontario for at least one year in the past two years before you apply.
You must have enough money to support yourself and your dependent family members when you settle in Canada. Remember to check the latest requirements to ensure that you have sufficient funds to meet the requirement. You have to demonstrate that you have access to the funds when you apply as well as when you are issued a permanent resident visa. You don’t have to show your funds if you are currently employed in Ontario or have a job offer in Ontario.
Intention to Reside in Ontario
In addition, you must intend to live and work in Ontario after you’re granted permanent residence. At the time of the application, you must be legally living in Ontario or living outside Canada. You must submit your application within two years of completing the requirements necessary to obtain your master’s degree.
Each year, there is a cap on the number of applications the PNP processes. You need to ensure checking when you can submit the application and do so in a timely manner.
If your application is successful, you will receive a Letter of Nomination along with the OINP Confirmation of Nomination document.
Successful nominees must submit an application for permanent residence to IRCC within six (6) months of being nominated by the OINP. There are only two situations where the nomination certificate can be extended:
- IRCC returns your permanent residence application due to incompleteness, requiring the submission of a new application, or
- you are experiencing delays in securing supporting documents for your permanent residence application (i.e. a police criminal record check) and you have not yet applied to IRCC.
Being nominated does not guarantee the approval of permanent residence application. However, under the Express Entry system, being nominated by the province vastly increases the chance of getting selected to apply for permanent residence, as it gives the applicant additional 600 points.
For the latest information on Ontario PNP and how to apply, please speak with an immigration lawyer at our firm.
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