In an effort to simplify program requirements and add more clarity and consistency to stream criteria, the government of Ontario has proposed a range of amendments to the Ontario Immigration Act. If, as expected, these changes come to pass, it will lead to a shake-up of the Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program (OINP).
Following the proposed introduction of a new Ontario tech stream in last week’s budget, the Ontario government, led by populist Premier Doug Ford, is taking matters further with sweeping changes to the Ontario Immigration Act.
Proposed Ontario immigration changes
The proposed regulatory amendments to the Ontario Immigration Act update the criteria for all OINP streams, including the three Express Entry-aligned streams, two graduate streams, three employer-driven streams, and two business streams.
Here are the highlights:
Express Entry streams
The following change covers the three Express Entry-aligned OINP streams, namely:
Previously, an applicant’s work experience was assessed as of the date that an applicant received a Notification of Interest (NOI) from Ontario. In future, however, the program is proposing to assess work experience as of the date of application. In effect, this will give more applicants a chance to obtain a coveted OINP nomination because they will have up to 45 additional days to accrue at least 12 months of full-time work experience, or equivalent part-time work experience.
These streams are aligned with Canada’s Express Entry immigration selection system. Successful applicants receive 600 additional Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS)points, followed by an invitation to apply (ITA) for permanent residence. A job offer is not required in order to qualify under any of these Express Entry-aligned OINP streams.
Employer Job Offer: In-Demand Skills Stream
The eligible occupations list for the OINP In-Demand Skills Stream is set to expand with the addition of three occupations to the list. The In-Demand Skills Stream supports employers facing labour shortages in lower skilled occupations in the construction and agricultural sectors.
The proposed new list will include (occupations added to the list are in bold italics):
- Nurse aides, orderlies and patient service associates (NOC 3413)
- Home support workers and related occupations, excluding housekeepers (NOC 4412)
- Residential and commercial installers and servicers (NOC 7441)
- Transport truck drivers (7511)
- Heavy equipment operators (except crane) (NOC 7521)
- Construction trades helpers and labourers ( NOC 7611)
- General farm workers (NOC 8431)
- Nursery and greenhouse workers (NOC 8432)
- Harvesting labourers (8611)
- Industrial butchers and meat cutters, poultry preparers and related workers (NOC 9462)
In addition, in order to improve the responsiveness of the program to current labour market and employer needs, the work experience requirement for applicants has been reduced from 12 months to 9 months.
Employer Job offer: Foreign Worker and International Student Streams
- Applicants including work experience in Canada on their application must have been lawfully residing and working in Canada at the time.
- Neither the applicant nor any of the applicant’s family members hold or have held equity in the employer’s business, either directly or indirectly, unless it was obtained as part of their remuneration as an employee and the total amount of equity held by the applicant and his or her family members is less than 10 per cent of the equity in the employer’s business. (This is currently the case, the only change is to add the italicized portion.)