Province Focus Series – Overview of Ontario’s Economy, Education, Lifestyle, and Provincial Nomination Options for Immigrants
With the largest population and the fastest-growing economy among all Canadian provinces, Ontario is the preferred destination for a majority of foreign skilled workers as well as international students seeking a future in Canada.
Read ahead for ImmigCanada’s first post in the series of Province Focus for more information on immigration, education, economy and jobs, and society and lifestyle in the Canadian province of Ontario.
Economy of Ontario
Ontario is one of the three-largest provincial economies in Canada. It is a manufacturing hub with close to half of Canada’s manufacturing GDP contributed by the province. Important sectors include automobiles and auto parts, machinery, mining, and plastic industries.
Despite strong manufacturing infrastructure, the service sector contributes close to 80 percent of the province’s GDP. This is primarily because the capital city of Toronto and the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) has become Canada’s biggest tech hub.
The province has the third-largest ICT (Information and Communications Technology) hub in North America, behind only New York city and Silicon Valley. There are around 15,000 companies in the province and create more than 150,000 tech jobs every year.
Further, this province also has the largest biotech cluster in the country. The growth of Ontario’s service sector has resulted from proactive government policies to attract tech talent, chaotic US immigration policies leading to tech companies moving to Canada, and Canada’s stable and
merit-centric immigration programs.
The pace of growth of the tech sector in the province is evident from the fact that total tech jobs created in the province exceeded number of tech students graduating from the various universities in the province.
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Studying in Ontario
The University of Toronto is ranked among the top universities of the world. The province has always been very popular among foreign students and this trend has only become stronger now that Ontario has become Canada’s manufacturing as well as technology hub.
Around half of all the international students in Canada study in Ontario. Two countries—India and China account for more than half all the international students seeking admission in Canada.
Foreign students always focus on the study-work-settle route when selecting a study destination. Ontario’s vibrant tech sector has attracted a large number of tech students since they can easily qualify for internships, post-graduation work permit, and provincial nomination along with the Express Entry route to Canadian permanent residence.
Immigrating to Ontario
Ontario’s Provincial Nomination Programs (OINP) has different categories covering skilled workers as well as entrepreneurs seeking to settle in the province.
Ontario Immigration for Skilled Workers
OINP has two categories skilled workers.
- Human Capital Category
- Employer Job Offer Category
The Human Capital category is open to two categories of applicants.
- Skilled Workers with a valid Express Entry Profile AND valuable experience, education, and language skills, and
- International students graduating from Ontario
The Humans Capital category consists of four streams for Express Entry applicants and two streams for international graduates.
Express Entry applicants can qualify for Ontario nomination and the 600-point boost in their CRS score if they receive a Notification of Interest (NOI) from the province under any of these streams.
- French-speaking Skilled Worker stream for skilled workers with high proficiency in English as well as French.
- Human Capital Priorities stream focusing on EE applicants working in in-demand occupations.
- Human Capital Tech stream focusing on EE applicants working in in-demand tech occupations.
- Skilled Trades stream focusing on EE applicants working in skilled trades.
The Masters Graduate stream is for applicants who obtained a Masters degree while the PhD Graduate stream is for Doctorate graduates from Ontario. In both cases, those who graduated within the past two years are eligible to apply.
The Employer Job Offer category, as the name suggests, is open only to skilled workers who have a permanent job offer from an eligible employer in Ontario.
This category has four streams. The Foreign Worker stream is for skilled workers with a job offer.
The International Student stream is for foreign students graduating from Ontario and those who have a job offer in hand. This stream is ideal for those who are unable to qualify through Express Entry due to lack of work experience but have managed a job offer after studying and graduating from the province.
The third stream is the In-Demand Skills stream that is open only to intermediate-skilled workers in specific occupations in which Ontario is facing a shortage of workers.
Finally, the fourth stream is the Regional Immigration Pilot. To qualify, the applicant must fulfill eligibility requirements of one of the three above-mentioned streams and must be prepared to work and settle in one of the three communities—Chatham-Kent, Cornwall or Quinte West/Belleville
The Pilot’s quota of 150 nominations was fully used in 2020 and the date of opening of the quota for 2021 is yet to be announced.
The third category of the OINP is the Entrepreneur stream that allows businesspersons seeking to setup a business in the province to qualify for permanent residence. This stream has lower investment and net worth requirements for those setting up their business outside the GTA.
Further, there are additional relaxations for entrepreneurs setting up an ICT or Digital communication business in the province.
Living in Ontario
In 2019, the GTA absorbed a third of the total immigrants accepted by Canada. Close to half the residents of the province are immigrants. Further, the province sees a steady influx of foreign students, skilled workers, and entrepreneurs alike.
So, a foreign worker or student can look forward to a diversified and cosmopolitan community. The province has more than 200 settlement support locations covering housing, language, health, and other aspects of living and settling in Canada.
An actionable tip for a foreign worker or student would be to look beyond the GTA for easier immigration opportunities. Toronto and nearby areas are relatively costlier and high demand among immigrants means even the smallest disadvantage in terms of education, work experience, or language skills can have an adverse impact on your immigration prospects.
Instead, work with an experienced immigration professional to explore opportunities outside the GTA that will help you get a job offer or get the 600-point CRS score boost to qualify for an invitation to apply for permanent residence.