ONTARIO ANNOUNCES A NEW FOREIGN TECH WORKER STREAM & AN IMMIGRATION PILOT FOR SMALLER COMMUNITIES
April 11, 2019 – The province of Ontario announced plans to launch a new PNP (Provincial Nominee Program) stream for high-skilled tech workers. The new stream was announced in the 2019 Ontario Budget which also promises the creation of a new immigration program to attract skilled workers to Ontario’s rural communities.
Ontario’s tech sector has been growing significantly in recent years, with the city of Toronto now ranking as the fastest growing tech sector in North America. This new PNP stream will enable Ontario to fuel the continued growth of its powerful tech industries.
Exact details about the tech workers’ PNP stream have not yet been revealed, there are still questions about which occupations will be eligible and how the application process will work.
Stream for Tech Workers
The Budget says that the government will create a “dedicated stream” to help Ontario’s technology sector attract highly skilled employees.”
“The Province is responding to the needs of Ontario’s employers by attracting the skilled workers they need through enhancements to the Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program (OINP)”, government says. “Through the modernization of the OINP, and in tandem with its other initiatives, the government will continue to ensure that Ontario’s workforce remains among the most highly skilled for the modern economy.”
OTHER CHANGES TO ONTARIO IMMIGRATION
In addition to the new tech stream, Ontario announced 3 other changes to its provincial immigration programs:
A New Pilot for Smaller Rural Communities
Ontario will launch a new immigration pilot program designed to attract workers to the province’s smaller communities. The budget says the government will also begin a pilot initiative “to explore innovative approaches to bring highly skilled immigrants” to smaller communities around the province.
The government said the pilot’s purpose will be to “spread the benefits of immigration to smaller communities.”
This announcement follows the success of the Atlantic Immigration Pilot Program (AIP), a joint federal-provincial initiative that allows designated employers in Canada’s 4 Atlantic provinces to recruit skilled foreign workers for jobs they haven’t been able to fill locally.
Canada recently revealed a Northern and Rural Immigration Pilot similar to the AIP that will help small or isolated communities in provinces and territories outside Atlantic Canada to recruit foreign workers.
Changes to the Entrepreneur Stream
The province will “recalibrate” the eligibility thresholds for investment and personal net worth in order to “make Ontario more competitive with other provinces” and expand the province’s base of prospective candidates.
The current minimum net worth under the stream’s eligibility requirements varies depending on where the business will be located:
- $1,500,000 minimum net worth for entrepreneurs hoping to locate within the Greater Toronto Area (GTA).
- $800,000 minimum net worth for entrepreneurs hoping to locate their business outside the GTA.
- $800,000 minimum net worth for entrepreneurs in the ICT/Digital Communications sector regardless of where they want their business to be located.
The current minimum personal investment thresholds are:
- $1,000,000 minimum personal investment if the proposed business will be located within the GTA.
- $500,000 minimum personal investment if the proposed business will be located outside the GTA.
- $500,000 minimum personal investment if the proposed business will be in the ICT/Digital Communications sector regardless of location.
Fair ONIP allocation – The success of immigration policies is a shared responsibility among the federal, provincial and territorial governments.Ontario’s budget “calls on the federal government to work with the Province” to ensure that the ONIP’s nomination allocation is “fair.”
The OINP receives an allocation each year from Canada’s federal government that allows it to nominate a set number of economic immigration candidates for permanent residence in the province. The OINP’s 2019 allocation is 6,900, which fell short of Ontario’s request for an allocation of 7,600 nominations. The allocation represents a small part of annual immigration to Ontario, which totalled 137,410 newcomers in 2018.
Changes to the In-Demand Skills Stream
The province will be adding truck-drivers and personal support workers to the list of eligible occupations for this stream. The In-Demand Skills stream is part of Ontario’s Employer Job Offer category and requires all applicants to have a valid job offer from an Ontario employer.
Ontario’s new budget also says the government will seek to include truck drivers and personal support workers under the occupations that are eligible for the OINP’s Employer Job Offer: In-Demand Skills Stream. The stream allows the OINP to nominate foreign workers with a permanent and full-time job offer from an Ontario employer in one of its eligible occupations to apply to live and work permanently in Ontario.
Eligible occupations under the stream are classified by Canada’s National Occupation Classification (NOC) as Skill Level C or D.