Ontario Targets Information and Communications Technology Workers
Candidates in the Express Entry pool for immigration to Canada with work experience in the Information and Communications Technology Sector (ICT) are being prioritized for immigration by the province of Ontario, under a new strategy implemented for the week beginning June 26.
The update to the Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program (OINP) concerns the Human Capital Priorities (HCP) Stream, which is aligned with the Federal Express Entry immigration selection system.
Whereas until this point Ontario searched the Express Entry pool and issued Notifications of Interest (NOIs) to candidates with at least 400 Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) points, the new strategy also allows the government of Ontario to issue NOIs to candidates who meet all other HCP Stream criteria and who have indicated work experience in a specific target occupation identified by the OINP.
Essentially, it is now possible for ICT workers to be issued an NOI by the OINP under the HCP, even if they have a CRS score below 400.
This measure allows the program to respond to labor market needs and economic developments.
At the time of writing, the OINP has not released a defined list of target ICT occupations.
According to a 2016 report published by the Information and Communications Technology Council (ICTC), a publicly-funded not-for-profit think tank, it is projected that Canada needs 182,000 new ICT workers by 2019, with more needed in Ontario than in any other province.
Ontario is a magnet for ICT workers and corporations alike, who are attracted by the opportunities in cities such as Toronto, Waterloo, and Hamilton, among others. Ontario is Canada’s ICT leader, contributing $31.6 billion to the total Canadian ICT output in 2015 alone.
Notably, about 25 percent of Ontario’s provincial nominees in 2016 were ICT workers. The province’s Minister of Immigration, Laura Albanese, recently disclosed at an immigration law conference in Toronto that the HCP Stream has invited candidates across more than 250 occupations, including ICT occupations.
It should be noted that the OINP will continue regular searches of the Express Entry pool for candidates eligible for the HCP Stream who do not necessarily have ICT work experience. These candidates will have to satisfy the requirement to have at least 400 CRS points in the Express Entry pool.
HCP Stream Criteria
To be eligible under the HCP Stream, candidates must:
Have a profile in the Express Entry pool and score a minimum of 400 points under the CRS.* The score must remain at or above 400 during both the Ontario nomination processing stage and at the federal application for permanent residence processing stage;
Have a minimum level of work experience;
Candidates who choose to be assessed against the Federal Skilled Worker Class (FSWC) criteria must have at least one year of continuous and full-time employment experience, or part-time equivalent, in a National Occupation Classification (NOC) level 0, A, or B occupation in the five years prior to the date of the NOI.
Candidates who choose to be assessed against the Canadian Experience Class (CEC) criteria must have at least one year of cumulative and full-time employment experience, or part-time equivalent, in an NOC 0, A, or B occupation in Canada in the three years prior to the date of the NOI.
Have a Canadian Bachelor’s, Master’s or Ph.D. degree OR an Educational Credential Assessment (ECA) report produced by a designated organization indicating that their foreign education credential is equivalent to Canadian standards;
Demonstrate English or French language proficiency level of Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) 7 or above in all four competencies (speaking, reading, writing, and listening);
Indicate that they intend to reside in Ontario or “all provinces and territories”;
Possess sufficient funds to cover settlement costs in Ontario; and
Meet the additional criteria under either the FSWC or CEC.