Destination Ontario— Overview of Work Permit and Ontario PNP Options for Skilled Workers

A look at Canada immigration numbers over the past 10-20 years has one thing in common—the dominance of Ontario.

Since 2010, there have been many years when Ontario’s share of total immigrants entering Canada has been more than 50 percent. Simply put, more than half of all immigrants settling in Canada choose to settle in the province of Ontario.

Now, this doesn’t mean you too should automatically decide on Ontario. But it would definitely be a smart strategy to the pros and cons of working or settling in Ontario before exploring other options.

Is Ontario the Right Province for Canada Immigration?

The surge in vacant job positions resulting from the post-pandemic reopening has been strongest in Ontario. In fact, Ontario employment has jumped by more than 200,000 positions when compared to pre-pandemic data of February 2020.

So, if you are looking for a job in Canada and are focusing on provinces with the maximum number of vacancies and opportunities, then Ontario must definitely be on this list.

The top-three sectors that are adding skilled workers are the accommodation and food services sector, the recreation sector, and the professional, scientific, and technical services sector.

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The last sector is very important because this indicates the recovery in jobs is not just based on the shutdown caused by the pandemic. Food and recreation sectors were hit hard by the pandemic. However, the professional sector was not badly hit due to the flexibility of remote working option.

The fact that this sector too is adding jobs means that there is more than just the post-pandemic reopening at play here, which means the province may continue to see steady demand for skilled workers in different occupations and positions.

A survey covering a thousand employers in Ontario indicated that almost half of all employers expect staffing levels to rise in the second quarter of 2022, which means job growth will continue even after the economy has been reopened fully.

Overview of your Ontario Work Permit and PR Options

If you want to enter Canada on a work permit, then you need to choose between the LMIA-mandatory TFWP route or the LMIA-exempt IMP route. The latter option is the best choice if you are an international student graduating from Canada. Your eligibility for this open work permit should make it very easy for you to find a good job in Ontario.

LMIA approval can make the TFWP route seem tough. However, you should check if you are eligible for two-week processing under TFWP’s Global Talent Stream. This stream is open to specific in-demand tech occupations, and there’s no better destination for tech immigration in Canada than Ontario.

What about Ontario PNP options for skilled workers? OINP has nine streams with eight of the streams open to skilled workers.

Out of the five non-Express Entry streams in OINP, you need to have a job offer in Ontario to qualify under three streams while the other two are open even if you don’t have a job offer.

Then, there are three streams open to those in the Express Entry pool. As is the case with all programs under Express Entry, you don’t need a job offer in hand to qualify for permanent residence.

OINP—Skilled Worker Streams

To qualify, you must be:

  • An international worker with a job offer in Ontario, or
  • An international graduate from Ontario with a job offer in the province, or
  • A foreign worker with a job offer in any in-demand occupation in the province.

Two streams that don’t require a job offer in Ontario are open to those who have obtained either a Masters’s or Ph.D. degree from Ontario. You must be living in the province or must be living in a foreign country at the time of application to qualify under these streams.

The three Express Entry streams are the Human Capital Priorities stream, the Skilled Trades stream, and the French-speaking Skilled Worker stream.

The Human Capital Priorities stream enables Ontario to issue ITAs to Express Entry applicants working in either one of the six tech occupations or in other in-demand occupations in the province.

The Skilled Trades stream is open to those eligible under the Federal Skilled Trades Program while the French-speaking Skilled Worker stream has the additional requirement of CLB 7 proficiency in French to qualify for an ITA.

With so many work permits and PR options, it’s important to have the right advice and guidance on your Ontario and Canada immigration strategy. Make your dream of work and settle in Canada come true by consulting an experienced immigration attorney at the earliest.

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