Ontario is one of the most popular provinces to immigrate to because of its multicultural communities and vibrant cities. The province is home to Canada’s capital, Ottawa as well as Toronto, the most populous city in the entire country. Sweeping waterways, a rich cultural history and immense diversity are only some of the reasons to immigrate to Ontario.

The province needs various skills to facilitate the growing economy which they list in their selected immigration programs. Otherwise, Ontario is filled with natural splendour in the form of Great Lakes and alpine forests. Find the right Canadian immigration program for you among the many offered by the federal government or the province itself.

Provincial Nominee Program

Immigrate to Ontario to live in cosmopolitan cities like Toronto.

The Provincial Nominee Program was designed to help specific provinces and territories to supplement their workforce with specific skilled and unskilled labour using their own criteria. Ontario is one of these provinces and offers several different streams that you may be suited for.

Human Capital Category

This category is aimed at getting skilled workers into Ontario through the Express Entry system and its provincial graduate streams. All the streams operate according to work experience and relevant qualifications for the occupation in question. A note to make is that the Express Entry streams listed in the table work differently to applying through the Express Entry system’s skilled worker programs only.

Ontario Express Entry Streams
Ontario Express Entry: Human Capital Priorities StreamFor candidates who want to settle in Ontario and are eligible to enter the Express Entry pool, meeting the criteria of in-demand occupations listed by the province.
Ontario Express Entry: French-speaking Skilled Worker StreamFor French-speaking candidates who want to settle in Ontario who have the addition of English language skills as well as relevant education and work experience for the province.
Ontario Express Entry: Skilled Trades StreamFor candidates who want to settle in Ontario and have recent or ongoing work experience in skilled trades in the province.

Minimum Requirements

The Express Entry (EE) process for Ontario works by Notification of Interest (NOI) whereby the province will extend an invitation to the candidate to apply for a Provincial Nomination once they are already entered into the EE pool. From here, candidates need to apply through the Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) stream of their choice in order to be considered.

Ontario Express Entry: Human Capital Priorities Stream Requires:

  • Meeting criteria for EE’s Federal Skilled Worker Program or the Canadian Experience Class
  • At least one year of work experience
  • A Canadian Bachelor’s, Master’s or PhD degree OR an Educational Credential Assessment (ECA) report (stating the foreign degree is equivalent)
  • Level 7 in English on the Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) which measures speaking, reading, listening and writing
  • An intention to reside in Ontario (with documentation providing link to province)
  • Legal status in Canada
  • A minimum CRS score of 400
  • Sufficient funds to settle

Ontario Express Entry: French-speaking Skilled Worker Stream Requires:

  • Meet the criteria for EE’s Federal Skilled Worker Program or the Canadian Experience Class
  • At least one year of work experience
  • Have a Canadian Bachelor’s, Master’s or PhD degree OR an Educational Credential Assessment (ECA) report (stating the foreign degree is equivalent)
  • Level 7 or higher in French and a level 6 in English on the Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB), which measures speaking, reading, listening and writing
  • Intention to reside in Ontario (with documentation providing link to province)
  • Legal status in Canada
  • Sufficient funds to settle

Ontario Express Entry: Skilled Trades Stream Requires:

  • Meeting the criteria for EE’s Canadian Experience Class
  • At least one year of work experience
  • A trade certification
  • Level 5 in French and English on the Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB), which measures speaking, reading, listening and writing
  • Current residence in Ontario
  • Legal status in Canada and documents proving ties to Ontario
International Graduate Streams
Master’s Graduate StreamFor candidates who have recently graduated from a recognized Ontario university with a master’s degree. There is no job offer required.
PhD Graduate StreamFor candidates who have recently graduated from a recognized Ontario university with a doctoral degree. There is no job offer required.

Minimum Requirements

These streams are for recent international graduates from eligible Ontario universities who are hoping to use their qualifications and gain working experience in the province.

Master’s Graduate Stream Requires:

  • A completed master’s degree
  • An application submission within two years of obtaining the degree
  • Legal status in Ontario
  • Level 7 in English or French on the Canadian Language Benchmark which measures writing, reading, speaking and listening
  • Sufficient funds to settle
  • A demonstration of prior residence in Ontario for 12-24 months
  • An intention to live and work in Ontario

PhD Graduate Stream Requires:

  • A completed doctoral degree
  • An application submitted within two years of obtaining the degree
  • Legal status in Ontario
  • Sufficient funds to settle
  • A demonstration of prior residence in Ontario for 12-24 months
  • An intention to live and work in Ontario

Employer Job Offer Category

This category is aimed at international students/foreign workers who have a job offer or are currently working in Ontario for a Canadian employer. These positions are also skilled and require candidates to be qualified.

Employer Job Offer Category Streams
Foreign Worker StreamFor candidates who have a job offer in a skilled occupation in Ontario and intend to settle in the province.
International Student StreamFor candidates who are international students and have a job offer in Ontario and intend to settle in the province.
In-Demand Skills StreamFor candidates who are working abroad or in Canada with a job offer/employment in an in-demand occupations (such as agriculture/truck-driving/construction).

Minimum Requirements

The main requirement for these streams is to have a job offer from a Canadian employer in Ontario as well as the intention to settle in the province.

Foreign Worker Stream Requires:

  • A full-time, permanent job offer in a skilled occupation
  • At least two years of work experience
  • An intention to reside in Ontario
  • Legal status in Canada on a valid work permit/study permit or other

International Student Stream Requires:

  • Graduation from an eligible Canadian college/university with a degree of at least two years
  • An application submitted within two years of studying
  • Completion of more than half of studies while residing in Canada
  • A full-time job offer in a skilled occupation
  • The required license to practice in said occupation
  • A demonstration of an intention to reside in Ontario, showing relevant ties to the province
  • Legal status in Canada throughout the application period

In-Demand Skills Stream Requires:

  • At least one year of work experience within three months prior to applying
  • A Canadian high school level or above equivalent
  • Valid certificate/license to practice in occupation applied for
  • Level 4 in English or French on the Canadian Language Benchmark which measures listening, reading, writing and speaking
  • Sufficient funds to settle in Canada
  • Intention to live and work in Ontario with proof of ties to the province
  • Legal status in Canada throughout the application period

Business Category

The business category is for candidates who do not necessarily meet the skilled worker requirements but want to open their own business, own a business or make an investment into a business in Ontario.

Business Category Streams
Entrepreneur StreamFor candidates who are looking to implement a business initiative or buy an existing business in Ontario.
Corporate StreamFor candidates who run an established international corporation but are looking to expand into Ontario or buy an existing business there.

Minimum Requirements

These are the minimum requirements to move to Ontario to start the business. This is seen as a preliminary step towards immigration as the business is still evaluated before applicants can apply for a Provincial Nomination through these streams. If successful,

Entrepreneur Stream Requires:

  • At least 36 months of full-time business experience as a business owner or senior manager
  • A minimum net-worth depending on the location of the business in Ontario
  • A third-party verification report prepared by an authorized service provider to demonstrate the net-worth
  • A minimum personal investment in the business depending on the location of the business in Ontario
  • A minimum of 33.3% equity ownership
  • The creation of at least two permanent full-time jobs for Canadian citizens/permanent residents
  • One business-related visit to Ontario 12 months prior to submitting an Expression of Interest (EOI), if purchasing a business

Corporate Stream Requires:

  • Having been established as a corporate entity for at least 36 months prior to application
  • Employment of key staff that are eligible for Provincial Nomination
  • Creation of five permanent full-time jobs for Canadian citizens/permanent residents for every key staff member and nomination being sought
  • Key staff members to demonstrate minimum language proficiency within a span of two years prior to the PR nomination

Express Entry System

Skilled workers are need to immigrate to Ontario through the Express Entry system.

The Express Entry system is controlled by the Canadian federal government and manages three programs, namely the Federal Skilled Worker Program, the Federal Skilled Trades Program and the Canadian Experience Class. These programs can be applied for through this fast-track system (a minimum processing time of only six months!) after which candidates are scored according to the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS). If successful, the candidate will be invited to apply for permanent residence.

The CRS awards points for:

  • Age
  • CLB Language proficiency (English and French)
  • Level of Education (In and outside Canada)
  • Work Experience (In and outside Canada)
  • Arranged employment
  • Provincial Nomination achieved
  • Sibling in Canada
  • Your spouse’s profile (if married)

Note that these Express Entry programs are not dependent on the Provincial Nominee Program but candidates can apply for a Provincial Nomination once inside the Express Entry pool. If successful, this boosts your profile by 600 points. The federal skilled worker programs are for Canada in general but candidates can choose to settle in Ontario if they are successful in achieving permanent residence.

The Process

  1. Create an online profile through Express Entry stating the program you want to apply through
  2. Submit the necessary documents, meeting the criteria of the CRS
  3. Your score is measured in the Express Entry pool against other applicants
  4. If successful, you are issued with an Invitation to Apply (ITA)

Other Ways of Immigration

Other ways to immigrate to Ontario include getting a spousal sponsorship.

Other ways of immigrating to Canada, specifically to Ontario include being sponsored by a family member or spouse who already lives in Canada as a permanent resident or by enrolling in studies at a recognized university. The more involved you are in the province in terms of education and work experience, the easier it will be to achieve a successful ITA through one of the programs listed above.

We are Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultants (RCICs) who have all been through the process before and are experts on immigration policy. Sign up with our services today to receive guidance about the different programs and give yourself the best possible chance of achieving your ITA for permanent residence.