Following British Columbia, Ontario is the second province to launch a provincial nominee program through the federal government’s new Express Entry. This program will allow Ontario to actively participate in immigration selection based on provincial needs and priorities and will result in lower processing time for eligible foreign workers.

The federal program

Ontario’s newest provincial nomination program provides a faster pathway to those seeking to immigrate to Canada under the federal Express Entry program. Launched in January 2015, Express Entry is a new application management system introduced by Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) to manage permanent resident applications for skilled migration to Canada.

Under this system, applicants are required to complete an Express Entry profile with information about their skills, work experience, language ability, education and other details. Applicants are ranked against others in the pool using a point-based system and those with the highest scores are invited to apply for permanent residence. Express Entry applications are expected to be processed in six months or less.

The provincial program

Seeking to facilitate the immigration of skilled workers into the province, Ontario has created two new Express Entry streams under its provincial nominee program.

The Human Capital Priorities Stream is intended for workers who have the required education, skilled work experience, language ability, and other characteristics to help them successfully establish and integrate into Ontario’s labour market. Applicants to this stream must have a language level of Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) 7 or above in either English or French, and must achieve and maintain a minimum of 400 points in the Express Entry Comprehensive Ranking System.

The French-Speaking Skilled Worker Stream targets French-speaking skilled workers who also have strong English language abilities. Candidates must have a minimum CLB level of 7 in French and CLB 6 in English, in addition to the required work experience, education and settlement funds.

Program requirements

To qualify for Ontario’s Express Entry provincial nominee program, applicants must first meet the eligibility criteria for the CIC’s Express Entry program. Express Entry candidates who have indicated their interest in residing in Ontario will be considered for the Human Capital Priorities or French-Speaking Skilled Streams. The government of Ontario will automatically search for candidates in the Express Entry pool who meet the minimum requirements under these streams. Applicants may not apply directly to Ontario’s Human Capital Priorities Stream or the French-Speaking Skilled Worker Stream.

Applicants who meet the requirements will receive a Notification of Interest from Ontario through their MyCIC accounts. Upon receipt of the Notification of Interest, applicants will be able to apply to one of Ontario’s provincial nomination Express Entry streams.

Applicants who are nominated by Ontario will receive an additional 600 points in Express Entry, which will considerably improve their chances of being selected and invited to apply for permanent residence. Each year the federal government determines the number of nominations Ontario can issue. In 2015, that number is 5,200. Of these, 2,700 nominations must be used under Ontario’s Express Entry.