Ontario likely moving to an Expression of Interest system

Proposed changes would allow the OINP to manage admissions more strategically, increase its labour market responsiveness, and better meet the needs of the regional labour market, Ontario says.

Ontario has released details of planned changes for the Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program.

The proposed amendment would introduce an Expression of Interest (EOI) system for the following existing streams of the Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program (OINP) :

  • Employer Job Offer Category: Foreign Worker;
  • Employer Job Offer Category: International Student;
  • Employer Job Offer Category: In-Demand Skills;
  • Masters Graduate; and
  • Ph.D. Graduate.

Tuesday’s news release from Ontario includes preliminary information on how applicants from its new EOI pool will be ranked and selected.

As a first step, OINP applicants will be invited to submit a profile to the program’s new EOI system, which will place them in a pool. Next, individuals will be asked to provide personal and other labour market and human capital information, on which a possible Invitation to Apply (ITA) will be based.

According to the proposal put forward by Ontario, applicants will be ranked based on the information provided in their EOI. Ontario will review the scores and issue ITAs to select registrants. Those who receive an ITA will then be able to apply to be nominated under the OINP stream.

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Why Ontario needs an EOI system for immigration

Ontario’s proposed EOI application process is similar to that used under the federal Express Entry system as well as EOI systems found under the PNP in other provinces.

The Express Entry pool consists of candidates profiles under the Federal Skilled Worker Program, the Federal Skilled Trades Class and the Canadian Experience Class.

The Express Entry system holds regular invitation rounds, usually, one every two weeks, and has invited 69,950 immigration candidates to apply for permanent residence in Canada so far this year.

Just like in Ontario, eligible candidates in the three immigration programs managed by Express Entry are issued a score under a ranking system, which awards points for factors such as age, education, skilled work experience and proficiency in English or French.

For the moment, Ontario has not provided specific details about factors or point totals other than to say that point allocations will be based on various factors such as level of education and language.

Ontario also said that it will be conducting general and targeted draws and publishing EOI point allocations on their website.

Ontario stated the proposed changes are meant “to more strategically manage intake, increase the OINP’s labour market responsiveness and better respond to regional labour market needs.”

In the past, some of the five streams of the OINP have been affected by problems in the receipt of applications. Most recently, the Employer’s job offer: International student stream opened only a few minutes before reaching its capacity and then closed again. Back in July, The Employer Job Offer: Foreign Worker stream also reached its registration limit just hours after opening.

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This “first come, first served” approach has attracted much criticism on the grounds that it puts those who do not have easy access to high-speed internet during selection sessions at a disadvantage.

All proposed changes would only go into effect after a 45-day public consultation period that ends October 23, 2020

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