The province of Ontario has announced that three communities will be participating in the new Ontario Regional Immigration pilot. The communities of Chatham-Kent, Cornwall and Belleville/Quinte West were selected based on their labour needs and the size of their populations.
This new Canadian immigration program could create exciting new opportunities for potential immigrants looking for a way to make Ontario their new home. While limited information has been released at this point, Ontario has stated that the program is intended to create “innovative approaches to bring highly skilled immigrants to smaller communities.”
The Ontario Regional Immigration Pilot: What we know so far
The new regional immigration pilot was announced by the Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program on July 15, 2019.
Following a consultation phase with several communities, Ontario released the names of the three communities chosen for this phase: Chatham-Kent, Cornwall and Belleville/Quinte West.
In order to have been considered for the consultation period, communities must have a population of between 20,000 and 200,000. In addition, communities were assessed based on their newcomer settlement, newcomer settlement infrastructure such as language and settlement services, and economic characteristics.
As the program is a pilot, it will most likely be launched for a set period of time. Following the pilot, the province will assess and determine whether or not to extend or make the program a permanent fixture in Ontario immigration.
The Ontario Regional Immigration Pilot is similar to the federal Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot that was announced earlier in 2019. Both are designed to facilitate immigration to rural areas. However, Ontario has explicitly stated that the new Ontario Regional Immigration Pilot is not meant to duplicate the federal pilot, but rather to complement it.
How can you apply to immigrate through the Ontario Regional Immigration Pilot?
The exact application criteria for prospective newcomers has not yet been released. However, Ontario has stated that “the OINP will allocate approximately 150 nominations for the pilot through the OINP Employer Job Offer category.” This likely means that candidates will require an offer of employment in order to apply.
The program is supposed to target “highly skilled workers,” Ontario has not released further details about what kind of workers will be eligible or how they will apply.
For up-to-date information, stay tuned to this page. We will continue to monitor the program and will provide updates when they become available.