Express Entry Candidates Benefit from Ontario Immigration Stream

Express Entry Candidates Benefit from Ontario Immigration Stream

Express Entry Candidates Benefit from Ontario Immigration Stream

Express Entry Candidates Benefit from Ontario Immigration Stream

The reopening last week of the Canadian province of Ontario’s Human Capital Priorities immigration stream allowed certain candidates in the Express Entry pool to benefit from one of Canada’s most popular Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) streams.

Even though Ontario stopped receiving applications through this stream just a few days later, the good news is that the province may invite even more applications before the end of year. Moreover, the province has confirmed that if an application is approved after the Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program (OINP) annual allotment is filled, the successful applicant will be issued a nomination certificate in 2018, when the province’s new allotment is assigned.

The Human Capital Priorities stream is part of the OINP and allows the province to identify eligible candidates in the Express Entry pool who meet specific criteria, including a requirement to have a Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) score of at least 400 points.

Candidates identified through the Human Capital Priorities stream receive a Notification of Interest (NOI) from Ontario and are invited to apply for a provincial nomination certificate. Successful applicants receive an additional 600 points toward their Express Entry CRS score, followed by an Invitation to Apply (ITA) for Canadian permanent residence in a subsequent draw from the Express Entry pool.

The Human Capital Priorities stream has been opened to applicants on a number of occasions through 2017. Indeed, on one occasion last June Ontario made the strategic decision to waive the requirement for potential applicants to have at least 400 CRS points. The province made this move as it searched for otherwise eligible candidates with work experience in specific Information and Communications Technology occupations, a move it may well make again in the future, either for those occupations or another list of occupations.

OINP sources told CICNews when the Human Capital Priorities stream reopened last week that Ontario’s annual allocation has not yet been filled, and more NOIs may be issued before the year is out.

That’s potentially good news for eligible Express Entry candidates who are hoping to settle in Ontario, which is Canada’s most populous province and includes both the country’s largest city, Toronto, as well as Ottawa, the national capital. The province was the destination of choice for more than 39 percent of recent immigrants to Canada, many of whom are drawn by Ontario’s strong manufacturing, financial, and science and technology sectors.

The Human Capital Priorities stream is one of Ontario’s three “enhanced” PNP streams, meaning they are aligned with Canada’s Express Entry system. Ontario also offers a French-Speaking Skilled Worker stream, as well as a recently-launched Skilled Trades stream, both of which are enhanced.

Most Canadian provinces and territories have at least one enhanced stream, which help to meet provincial labour market needs and are often a fast-track to Canadian permanent residence. A new enhanced PNP stream for Alberta, Canada’s fourth most populous province and the country’s largest producer of oil and gas, is scheduled to be launched in January, 2018.

Enhanced PNPs are playing an increasingly important role in Canada’s economic immigration system. According to Immigration, Refugee and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), the share of Express Entry candidates issued an ITA who had obtained a provincial nomination certificate through an enhanced PNP stream rose to 26 per cent of all invited candidates in 2016, up from 13 per cent in 2015. Nearly half of all candidates who uploaded a provincial nomination to their profile in 2016 did so in the final quarter of the year.

Ontario is not the only province to welcome new applications from Express Entry candidates over recent weeks. Saskatchewan and Nova Scotia have also opened their popular Express Entry-aligned streams, with both provinces offering first-come, first-served Express Entry streams in which candidates with work experience in an in-demand occupation may apply without a job offer.

Over the course of 2017, British Columbia has also engaged with Express Entry under its own unique points system by inviting some candidates who have registered in BC’s unique system to apply for an enhanced provincial nomination. Other provinces, including the Atlantic provinces of Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick, and Newfoundland, have also continued to leverage Express Entry into their PNPs throughout the year.

Looking ahead to 2018, provinces looking to welcome newcomers stand to gain from Canada’s new multi-year immigration strategy, which was announced November 1. Whereas the 2017 target for PNPs was 51,000, the 2018 target stands at 55,000, with further increases to 61,000 and 67,800 for 2019 and 2020, respectively — an increase of 33 percent between 2017 and 2020.

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IRCC Invites 2,000 Candidates to Apply on November 8 Express Entry Draw

IRCC Invites 2,000 Candidates to Apply on November 8 Express Entry Draw

IRCC Invites 2,000 Candidates to Apply on November 8 Draw

IRCC Invites 2,000 Candidates to Apply on November 8 Draw

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) have invited 2,000 candidates in the Express Entry pool to apply for Canadian permanent residence in a draw that took place the morning of Wednesday, November 8. The Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) score of the lowest-ranked candidate issued an Invitation to Apply (ITA) was 458.

This latest draw, the 77th to take place since Express Entry was first introduced in January, 2015 and the 27th so far this year, is the first draw to operate under a new procedure whereby in the event that multiple candidates have tied CRS scores, profiles are ranked according to the date and time of submission of the profiles, with profiles that have been in the pool longer being prioritized for invitation over newer profiles. This ‘tie-break’ policy was first unveiled by IRCC as a possible future strategy last June. Therefore, it is possible that not all candidates with exactly 458 CRS points were invited on this occasion.

Last week, the federal Minister of Immigration, Ahmed Hussen signed off on two Express Entry draws, in which only those candidates eligible under the Federal Skilled Trades Class (FSTC), as well as candidates with a provincial nomination, were invited to apply. Candidates with a provincial nomination obtained through an ‘enhanced’ Express Entry-aligned Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) stream receive 600 additional CRS points and an ITA at a subsequent draw from the pool.

Program-specific draws, such as those that took place last week, are the exception rather than the norm. In those draws, IRCC invited 795 candidates to apply, a factor that may have contributed to the relatively low number of candidates invited in today’s draw. As a result, this was likely to have been a significant contributing factor to the increase in the CRS cut-off threshold.

Just after last week’s draws were performed, the Minister revealed the government’s ambitious new multi-year Immigration Levels Plan for 2018 to 2020. Under the plan, Canada expects to welcome nearly one million new permanent residents over the three years, with around a quarter million of those newcomers to be admitted through the federal economic immigration programs managed under Express Entry, namely: the Federal Skilled Worker Class (FSWC), the Federal Skilled Trades Class (FSTC), and the Canadian Experience Class (CEC). The number admitted through these programs is set to increase year-on-year.

With more candidates set to be invited over the coming months and years, IRCC will have to either perform larger draws, in which more candidates would be invited to apply, or perform more frequent draws. It is, of course, possible that IRCC could invite more candidates and perform more frequent draws in the future.

The latest draw brings the total number of ITAs issued so far in 2017 to 77,773, representing more than half of the 142,618 issued since 2015. IRCC has increased the number of ITAs issued as Express Entry has become the main driver of economic immigration to Canada.

Ontario update

Following the Express Entry draws last week, the province of Ontario re-opened its popular Express Entry-aligned Human Capital Priorities stream for new applications on November 2. By November 7, the OINP Human Capital Priorities stream had reached its intake limit. However, immigration authorities in Ontario confirmed to CIC News that more Notifications of Interest (NOIs) may be issued before the end of 2017. Among the eligibility criteria for this stream of the Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program (OINP) is that candidates must be in the federal Express Entry pool with 400 or more CRS points. Consequently, there is every chance that more eligible candidates may be invited to apply for a provincial nomination under the OINP in the near future.

A dynamic system

With fluctuating CRS thresholds, the sporadic presence of program-specific draws in the timeline, and tweaks to the procedure such as the introduction of the tie-break, it is helpful to look at which sorts of candidates are receiving ITAs following the latest draw. The examples below are entirely hypothetical.

Mike is a 33-year-old software engineer, who has a Master’s degree and three years of work experience. He has an advanced English language proficiency and has never worked or studied in Canada. His CRS of 459 would have been sufficient to receive an ITA in the most recent draw from the pool.

Lianne and Steve are 29, have been working as financial analysts for nearly four years each, and both partners hold a bachelor’s degree. They each have an initial advanced English language proficiency. While they have never worked or studied in Canada, Lianne’s sister is a permanent resident living in the Canadian province of Ontario. Their CRS score of 458 would be sufficient to obtain an ITA.

Meyan is 33 and came to Canada as an international student. She obtained his Bachelor’s degree in Alberta and has been working as a restaurant manager in Canada for two years. Before coming to Canada, Meyan obtained three years of work experience overseas, also as a restaurant manager. She has a high intermediate English language proficiency in speaking and listening, as well as an intermediate proficiency in reading and writing. Her CRS of 459 would have been sufficient to obtain an ITA.

“The latest draw can be seen as an anomaly. Indeed, you could also see last week’s draws in the same light. The number of candidates drawn in each draw over the past two weeks is lower than usual, and, as a result, the CRS cut-off threshold has increased for most eligible candidates,” says Attorney David Cohen.

“The good news is that IRCC is taking steps to improve the process even more. We can see that today with the introduction of the tie-break. A much bigger strategic change, however, is the new multi-year Immigration Levels Plan unveiled last week. Current and prospective Express Entry candidates have every reason to be optimistic that their opportunity will come. I would encourage individuals and families looking to make Canada their new home to evaluate their options as we leave 2017 behind and enter a new era beginning in 2018.”

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Toronto could welcome almost 170,000 immigrants over the next 3 years

Toronto could welcome almost 170,000 immigrants over the next 3 years — are we ready?

Toronto could welcome almost 170,000 immigrants over the next 3 years — are we ready?

Toronto could welcome almost 170,000 immigrants over the next 3 years — are we ready?

Nearly one million immigrants will be coming to Canada over the next three years, and tens of thousands of them will wind up in Toronto — but is the city ready for an influx of newcomers?

On the heels of the Liberal government’s newly-announced strategy to boost immigration levels in the years ahead, Toronto immigration experts are raising questions about whether there is adequate support for the rising tide of economic migrants, family reunifications and refugees, in a city where both stable work and housing can be hard to find.

“The rate of unemployment for racialized immigrant women is very, very high,” says Catherine McNeely, the executive director of Newcomer Women’s Services, a non-profit settlement organization.

The latest census data shows more than 55 percent of visible minority residents in Toronto are living on less than $30,000 a year, she adds.

“When they do get work, it’s minimum wage, it’s precarious, it’s shift work,” she says. “We serve a huge number of women who live just north of the Danforth, where … 57 percent of the households have incomes under $40,000.”

Margaret Eaton agrees. As executive director of the Toronto Region Immigrant Employment Council, she stresses how most immigrants are highly educated, yet an economic divide persists.

Employers, she says, need to step up and give newcomers a shot. “The heads of these big corporations have to cascade down that message to their hiring managers, and then you have to hire someone.”

No. of immigrants climbing to 340,000 in 2020

And that pool of potential workers could grow quickly, thanks to the plan announced on Nov. 1.

Dubbed “the most ambitious” plan in recent history by Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen, it means the number of immigrants coming to Canada will climb to 310,000 in 2018, up from 300,000 this year.

That number will rise again to 330,000 in 2019 — then 340,000 in 2020.

Coun. Jim Karygiannis, who represents Ward 39, Scarborough-Agincourt, praised the Liberals’ plan and said previous governments haven’t been “courageous” enough to move in that direction. He also says more people in Toronto means more support is needed.

“We need to get ready for them,” Karygiannis explains. “We need to make sure our schools are prepared because a lot of the kids coming in do not speak English. We need to make sure we have services.”

It’s crucial in Toronto specifically, a city which has typically been a “huge magnet” for people coming from abroad, Eaton says.

Hussen says the government plans to prioritize integration of immigrants, ensuring they have access to the resources they require to thrive.

“The supports are there, and they will continue to be there and we are working very closely with the industry,” he said.

Toronto home to 17% of recent immigrants

The 2016 census showed the city was home to more than 17 percent of all recent immigrants to Canada, even though less than eight percent of the country’s population lives in Toronto.

If that trend continued, the city would be welcoming more than 50,000 immigrants in 2018 alone, and nearly 170,000 over the next three years.

But as the city continues to struggle with affordable housing, one expert says it might not be a diaspora destination in the years ahead.

Diane Dyson, director of research and public policy at Wood Green community services, says many of the recent Syrian refugees, for instance, wound up settling elsewhere in the GTA.

“A lot of them arrived in Toronto, were sponsored in Toronto, but they moved outside the city boundaries,” she says, to places like Mississauga and Markham where housing is more affordable.

Still, the flow of newcomers might shrink, but it certainly won’t slow to a trickle.

“If immigrants are going to come to Toronto and have success, they must be supported,” says Eaton.

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