The reopening last week of the Canadian province of Ontario’s Human Capital Priorities immigration stream allowed certain candidates in the Express Entry pool to benefit from one of Canada’s most popular Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) streams.
Even though Ontario stopped receiving applications through this stream just a few days later, the good news is that the province may invite even more applications before the end of year. Moreover, the province has confirmed that if an application is approved after the Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program (OINP) annual allotment is filled, the successful applicant will be issued a nomination certificate in 2018, when the province’s new allotment is assigned.
The Human Capital Priorities stream is part of the OINP and allows the province to identify eligible candidates in the Express Entry pool who meet specific criteria, including a requirement to have a Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) score of at least 400 points.
Candidates identified through the Human Capital Priorities stream receive a Notification of Interest (NOI) from Ontario and are invited to apply for a provincial nomination certificate. Successful applicants receive an additional 600 points toward their Express Entry CRS score, followed by an Invitation to Apply (ITA) for Canadian permanent residence in a subsequent draw from the Express Entry pool.
The Human Capital Priorities stream has been opened to applicants on a number of occasions through 2017. Indeed, on one occasion last June Ontario made the strategic decision to waive the requirement for potential applicants to have at least 400 CRS points. The province made this move as it searched for otherwise eligible candidates with work experience in specific Information and Communications Technology occupations, a move it may well make again in the future, either for those occupations or another list of occupations.
OINP sources told CICNews when the Human Capital Priorities stream reopened last week that Ontario’s annual allocation has not yet been filled, and more NOIs may be issued before the year is out.
That’s potentially good news for eligible Express Entry candidates who are hoping to settle in Ontario, which is Canada’s most populous province and includes both the country’s largest city, Toronto, as well as Ottawa, the national capital. The province was the destination of choice for more than 39 per cent of recent immigrants to Canada, many of whom are drawn by Ontario’s strong manufacturing, financial, and science and technology sectors.
The Human Capital Priorities stream is one of Ontario’s three “enhanced” PNP streams, meaning they are aligned with Canada’s Express Entry system. Ontario also offers a French-Speaking Skilled Worker stream, as well as a recently-launched Skilled Trades stream, both of which are enhanced.
Most Canadian provinces and territories have at least one enhanced stream, which help to meet provincial labour market needs and are often a fast-track to Canadian permanent residence. A new enhanced PNP stream for Alberta, Canada’s fourth most populous province and the country’s largest producer of oil and gas, is scheduled to be launched in January, 2018.
Enhanced PNPs are playing an increasingly important role in Canada’s economic immigration system. According to Immigration, Refugee and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), the share of Express Entry candidates issued an ITA who had obtained a provincial nomination certificate through an enhanced PNP stream rose to 26 per cent of all invited candidates in 2016, up from 13 per cent in 2015. Nearly half of all candidates who uploaded a provincial nomination to their profile in 2016 did so in the final quarter of the year.
Ontario is not the only province to welcome new applications from Express Entry candidates over recent weeks. Saskatchewan and Nova Scotia have also opened their popular Express Entry-aligned streams, with both provinces offering first-come, first-served Express Entry streams in which candidates with work experience in an in-demand occupation may apply without a job offer.
Over the course of 2017, British Columbia has also engaged with Express Entry under its own unique points system by inviting some candidates who have registered in BC’s unique system to apply for an enhanced provincial nomination. Other provinces, including the Atlantic provinces of Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick, and Newfoundland, have also continued to leverage Express Entry into their PNPs throughout the year.
Looking ahead to 2018, provinces looking to welcome newcomers stand to gain from Canada’s new multi-year immigration strategy, which was announced November 1. Whereas the 2017 target for PNPs was 51,000, the 2018 target stands at 55,000, with further increases to 61,000 and 67,800 for 2019 and 2020, respectively — an increase of 33 per cent between 2017 and 2020.
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