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Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs)

Comparing the Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program (OINP) Streams

23 April 2017

Comparing the Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program (OINP) Streams
OINP International Graduate Student Stream

In February 2017, the Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program (OINP) reopened two streams to international graduates of Ontario’s public universities. Through the Masters Graduate and International Student — PhD Graduate streams, eligible candidates now have a pathway to obtain Canadian permanent residency (PR). Until the program’s May 2016 suspension was lifted, the only alternatives for the OINP were the corporate and entrepreneur streams, which offer applicants a Canadian work permit (WP) in exchange for a substantial contribution to the Canadian economy.

With the OINP Masters Graduate and International Student — PhD Graduate streams, graduate students who have already spent a significant time in Canada though their studies are desirable candidates for successful integration into Ontario’s society and workforce. Even more, fresh graduates of Ontario’s universities possess a high-level of education, innovation, and skills that the Government of Canada needs to sustain its economy.

Upon approval of an application, the applicant receives a “base” provincial nomination certificate, which can lead to Canadian permanent residency (PR). However, recipients of “base” provincial nomination certificates are not eligible under the federal government’s Express Entry system for Canadian permanent residency, but must apply separately.

OINP Entrepreneur and Corporate Streams

Unlike the International Graduate Streams, the OINP Entrepreneur and Corporate Streams offer Canadian work permits (WP) by way of business investment immigration. What this means is that applicants must make a substantial capital investment into Ontario’s economy through a business or corporate venture, depending on which stream the applicant applies for. In exchange, applicants and their dependents will receive entry to Canada through an issued Canadian work permit (WP). However, successful applicants and their dependents will not receive Canadian permanent residency (PR), as with the Manitoba Provincial Nominee Program for Business (MPNP-B). This is important to keep in mind when deciding between Provincial Nominee Programs—after all, there are 13 to consider! The applicant’s intended business, its location, and the immigration needs of the applicant and his or her family are all significant factors to think about before applying to any Canadian immigration program. This is why we always recommend potential applicants not only research Provincial Nominee Programs thoroughly, but discuss their options with a qualified immigration lawyer or immigration consultant.

Like all Provincial Nominee Programs, the OINP Entrepreneur and Corporate Streams must meet specific requirements in senior management, business ownership, or experience in ownership and/or management of an international corporation. These specific Provincial Nominee streams are designed for ultra high net worth and high net worth individuals (U/HNWI) seeking Canadian employment in Ontario, and similar to any other PNP, OINP applicants must take an active role in their intended business in addition to meeting  the minimum net worth amount and making the required investment into Ontario’s economy.

OINP Entrepreneur Stream

Applicants to the OINP Entrepreneur Stream, for instance, must have a legally-acquired minimum net worth of CAD $800,000-1.5 million, depending on the business’ location: a business in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) requires a minimum investment of CAD $1.5 million, whereas a business outside of the GTA only requires a CAD $800,000 investment. If the applicant chooses to invest in the ICT/Digital Communications sector, the amount is CAD $800,000 regardless of location. If the applicant intends to purchase an existing business in Canada, he or she must make an Exploratory Visit prior to landing in Canada. Candidates for the OINP Entrepreneur Stream are also required to submit an Expression of Interest (EOI) and complete an interview before an application can be approved. Additional requirements and/or criteria for the OINP Entrepreneur Stream are as follows:
  • Applicants must have full-time business experience for at least 36 months within the last 60 months; AND,
  • Experience must either be as a business owner OR as a senior manager. If the applicant has experience as both an owner and manager, he or she may only choose one for the EOI and application; AND,
  • Senior managers must provide a reference letter certifying that they have experience in senior decision-making responsibilities in areas such as operations, sales, finance, marketing, distribution, human resources, research and development, etc.; AND,
  • The intended business must create 2 full-time (permanent) jobs.
Note: If applying with a business partner, both applicants must meet all the eligibility requirements individually.

OINP Corporate Stream

Applicants for the OINP Corporate Stream do not have a minimum net worth requirement. However, the required investment amount is CAD $5 million or CAD $10 million if the proposed business is in land development or a leasehold company. While applicants are not required to make an Exploratory Visit prior to application approval, it is encouraged. Applicants are, however, required to submit an EOI and complete an interview as part of the application process. Additional requirements and/or criteria for the OINP Corporate Stream include (but are not limited to):
  • Having at least 3 years experience in senior management of an international corporation within the last 5 years; AND,
  • The intended business must create 5 new jobs; AND,
  • The business must have been established at least 36 months at the time of application.
Final Thoughts

Unlike the OINP International Graduate Student Stream, which is designed for international graduates, the OINP Entrepreneur and Corporate Streams are designed for ultra to high net worth individuals seeking entry to Canada through employment in Ontario’s business sectors. Each stream contains different application requirements qualifying criteria—weighing out your options between Ontario’s Immigrant Nominee Programs for business immigration is critical to determining which the right fit is for you and your family. Even more, understanding what benefits each program offers, such as a Canadian work permit (WP) vs. Canadian permanent residency (PR), or family eligibility, will likely be principal deciding factors during the immigration planning process.

Contact our offices today to discuss your options for immigration to Canada through a Provincial Nominee Program.

For more information on Provincial Nominee Programs, please click here.

For more information on Canadian immigration programs, please click here.

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