Despite the pandemic, Ontario still surpassed its original allocation for the number of new immigrants it was allowed to accept in 2020.
The Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program (OINP) nominated 8,054 principal applicants in 2020, who came with 7,249 spouses and children for a total of 15,303 new Ontarians. The original allocation from the federal government was 7,350, but Ontario ended the year with 300 additional applicants through the NOC C Pilot for low-skilled workers, plus 450 additional nominations.
Ontario’s Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) works to address labour market needs by providing pathways to permanent residency to foreign workers who want to move to Ontario. In 2020, the province issued a high number of nominations to workers in technology-related occupations and skilled trades, because these sectors had the greatest need for talent and high numbers of applicants.
About 20 per cent of all nominations went to people with work experience or a job offer in a high-tech occupation, such as:
- software engineers and designers;
- computer programmers;
- interactive media developers;
- IT systems analysts; and
- technology consultants.
Less than half, 48 per cent, of nominees had a job offer in Ontario before they got the provincial nomination. About 96 per cent held a post-secondary degree, and at least 43 per cent had adequate intermediate to fluent language skills in one of the official languages.
Most Ontario nominees were Express Entry candidates
Ontario nominated 3,499 Express Entry candidates through its three enhanced PNPs:
Express Entry is the federal government’s application management system. The majority of new immigrants to Canada come through one of the three Express Entry-managed programs: Federal Skilled Worker Program, Federal Skilled Trades Program, or the Canadian Experience Class.
Express Entry candidates also have the opportunity to be nominated by a PNP. If these candidates receive the provincial nomination, they automatically get an additional 600 points added to their Comprehensive Ranking System score. This award effectively guarantees that the candidate will be invited to apply for permanent residence.
Francophones, regional immigration, and entrepreneurs
In 2020, the OINP issued 437 nominations to French-speakers. Ontario’s target for French immigration was 5 per cent of all nominations. It exceeded its goal, ending the year with 5.4 per cent of nominations going to people with high French language proficiency.
Ontario conceived the two-year Regional Immigration Pilot, in 2019, to allow employers in three communities to acquire skilled labour from abroad. Because of the coronavirus pandemic, the pilot only began intake halfway through the year. Out of the 150 allotted spaces, only 67 nominations went to immigration candidates through the pilot in 2020. As a result, the OINP has allotted up to 233 spaces to regional pilot applicants to make up for the shortage in 2021.
Ontario issued its first nomination under its Entrepreneur Stream, and 18 other applicants were in the last stage of the compliance monitoring process by the end of 2020.
“We anticipate that these 18 Entrepreneur stream candidates will invest over $22.4 million dollars and hire 92 Ontarians as a result of establishing their businesses in Ontario,” the OINP said on its webpage. “We are processing another 64 applications that we received in 2020.”
Expression of Interest system coming soon
In 2020, Ontario consulted with the public for input on developing an Expression of Interest system for its Employer Job Offer and International Graduate student streams. The OINP says the new system will launch in the spring.
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