Immigrating To Canadian Province Of Ontario: All You Need To Know

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Canada’s most populous province of Ontario is on track to attract almost as many new immigrants this year as the record number it welcomed last year.

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) data reveal Ontario welcomed 132,755 new permanent residents in the first eight months of this year, meaning it could see 199,132 new permanent residents for the year provided the existing trend continues.

That would put it within arms reach of last year’s 199,280 new permanent residents to the province.

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It would also mean that Ontario, which is home to slightly more than 15 million people, or 38.8 per cent of Canada’s population of roughly 38.8 million, is going to once again grab an outsized bite of the total Canadian immigration pie. 

Immigration to Ontario this year is projected to account for 42.9 per cent of the total 463,850 new permanent residents projected to come to Canada this year. 

With the exception of the precipitous drop in immigration during the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic, immigration to Ontario has been steadily increasing since 2015.

In 2015, 103,580 new permanent residents settled in Ontario. That grew by almost 6.1 per cent, to 109,880, the following year and that, in turn, grew an additional 1.9 per cent to 112,005 in 2017.

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In 2018, 137,465 new permanent residents came to Ontario, a figure that grew by almost 11.6 per cent to hit 153,370 in 2019, the last full year before the pandemic.

With the pandemic public health restrictions, border closures and travel restrictions, immigration to Ontario plummeted much as it did for all Canadian provinces and territories. By the end of 2020, only 82,960 new permanent residents had settled in Ontario that year, a drop of 45.9 per cent.

Immigration To Ontario Surged Back To Life In 2021

Then, last year, immigration to Canada roared back to life and the number of new permanent residents coming to Ontario more than doubled, increasing by 140.2 per cent to 199,280.

Ontario Immigration Minister Monte McNaughton wants to do even more and asked Ottawa late last year to double the number of skilled newcomers that Ontario can welcome.

“I’ve called on the federal government to increase the number of skilled newcomers Ontario can welcome,” tweeted McNaughton. “We are facing a historic labour shortage. Our government wants to build back a better, stronger Ontario – but we need the people to do it.”

Through the Employer Job Offer: In-Demand Skills stream of the Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program (OINP), the province gives foreign workers with a job offer in specific in-demand occupations the opportunity to apply to permanently live and work in Ontario.

The jobs can be anywhere in Ontario (inside and outside the Greater Toronto Area) and must be in one of the following occupations in National Occupational Classification (NOC) Skill Level C or D:

  • NOC 3413 – nurse aides, orderlies and patient service associates;
  • NOC 4412 – home support workers and related occupations, excluding housekeepers;
  • NOC 7441 – residential and commercial installers and servicers;
  • NOC 7511 – transport truck drivers;
  • NOC 7521 – heavy equipment operators (except crane);
  • NOC 7611 – construction trades helpers and labourers;
  • NOC 8431 – general farm workers;
  • NOC 8432 – nursery and greenhouse workers;
  • NOC 8611 – harvesting labourers, and;
  • NOC 9462 – industrial butchers and meat cutters, poultry preparers and related workers.

Many More Occupations Qualify For In-Demand Stream Provided They Are Outside Of The GTA

Other jobs that qualify must be outside the Greater Toronto Area (City of Toronto, Durham, Halton, York and Peel regions) and can be any of the following occupations:

  • NOC 9411 – machine operators, mineral and metal processing;
  • NOC 9416 – metalworking and forging machine operators;
  • NOC 9417 – machining tool operators;
  • NOC 9418 – other metal products machine operators;
  • NOC 9421 – chemical plant machine operators;
  • NOC 9422 – plastics processing machine operators;
  • NOC 9437 – woodworking machine operators;
  • NOC 9446 – industrial sewing machine operators;
  • NOC 9461 – process control and machine operators, food, beverage and associated products processing;
  • NOC 9523 – electronics assemblers, fabricators, inspectors and testers;
  • NOC 9526 – mechanical assemblers and inspectors;
  • NOC 9536 – industrial painters, coaters and metal finishing process operators, and;
  • NOC 9537 – other products assemblers, finishers and inspectors.

On Nov. 16, Ontario will be switching to the 2021 version of the NOC. NOC Skill Level C or D occupations that are currently eligible are proposed to be the equivalent TEER 4 or 5 occupations under NOC 2021. 

The OINP has three immigration categories: Human Capital; Employer Job Offer, and; Business Immigration. Each category is further divided into several streams.

Ontario Nominates Skilled Worker Candidates Through Its Human Capital Category

The Human Capital Category allows the OINP to nominate candidates who have the skills, education and work experience to contribute to Ontario’s economy and labour market. It is comprised of three Express Entry streams and two international student streams:

  • the Express Entry French-Speaking Skilled Worker Stream;
  • Express Entry Human Capital Priorities Stream;
  • Express Entry Skilled Trades Stream;
  • Masters Graduate Stream, and;
  • PhD Graduate Stream.

The Employer Job Offer Category allows applicants only if they have the support of an Ontario employer who has extended to them a full-time, indeterminate job offer. It is broken down into four streams:

  • the Foreign Worker Stream;
  • International Student Stream;
  • In-Demand Skills Stream, and;
  • Regional Immigration Pilot.

The Business Category has only one stream, the Entrepreneur stream, directed to applicants with a successful business background.

Ontario operates an Expression of Interest system to manage the intake of five streams: Employer Job Offer (all three streams) and International Student (Masters and Ph.D. Graduates).

The province also operates three Express Entry streams targeting applicants who have the requisite qualifications, including education, experience, language proficiency and ability to successfully establish in Ontario and contribute to the province’s economic development.

OINP Issues ITAs and NOIs to Qualified Candidates

The OINP issues periodic Invitations to Apply (ITAs) through its Expression of Interest system and Notifications of Interest (NOIs) to candidates in the Express Entry pool, allowing them to apply for nomination under one of the targeted streams. The details and methodology used are published after the draws are done.

Processing times are divided into two periods: how long it takes for the province to issue the nomination and then how long it takes for the permanent resident visa to be processed and issued.

Ontario currently estimates its processing times between 60 and 90 days for most streams.

The Express Entry Skilled Trades applications are being processed within 30 to 60 days. The Business applications’ processing times depend on the complexity of each file.

The Express Entry process is simple.

  • Submit your profile and enter Express Entry Pool;
  • Get issued an Invitation to Apply if the minimum points requirement I met;
  • Submit an application in 60 days;
  • Get a decision in a target processing time of six months, and;
  • If successful, move to Canada.

Under Express Entry, candidates score Comprehensive Ranking System points for core factors such as age, education, work experience and language ability.

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