Ontario Express Entry Human Capital Priorities Reaches Registration

Ontario Express Entry Human Capital Priorities Reaches Registration Intake Limit

Ontario Express Entry Human Capital Priorities Reaches Registration Intake Limit

Ontario Express Entry Human Capital Priorities Reaches Registration Intake Limit

Ontario’s popular Human Capital Priorities immigration stream has reached its registration intake limit after reopening for registrations last Thursday, November 2. This popular Express Entry-aligned Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) stream is part of the Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program (OINP), a Canadian immigration program through which the province can welcome newcomers who have the ability to integrate quickly into the labour market.

No additional registrations will be accepted for the time being. However, OINP staff confirmed to CICNews last week that the program is likely to issue more Notifications of Interest (NOIs) to eligible Express Entry candidates in the pool before the end of the year.

In a statement, the OINP stated that it is ‘monitoring the intake of applications with respect to the limits of Ontario’s federal nomination allocation, and will determine if any more applications can be accepted for this stream.’

An NOI works in the same way as an invitation to apply. However, in the case of the OINP Human Capital Priorities stream, the process of obtaining an NOI is passive in the sense that Ontario immigration authorities search the Express Entry pool for eligible potential applicants. There is no guarantee that eligibility for the stream will result in an NOI being issued.

Eligibility

To be eligible under the Ontario Human Capital Priorities 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 Notification of Interest from the OINP.
  • 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 a NOC 0, A, or B occupation in Canada in the three years prior to the date of the NOI from the OINP.
  • 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 a Canadian Bachelor’s, Master’s or Ph.D.;
  • Demonstrate English or French language proficiency level of Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) 7 or above in all four competencies (speaking, reading, writing, and listening);
  • Intend to reside in Ontario;
  • Possess sufficient funds to cover settlement costs in Ontario; and
  • Meet the additional criteria under either the FSWP or CEC.

The province has, on occasion, removed the requirement for certain candidates to have at least 400 CRS points, notably in June when the requirement was temporarily waived for certain Express Entry candidates with work experience in the Information and Communications Technology Sector (ICT).

Ontario also issued the following notes in its recent updates regarding the Human Capital Priorities stream.

  • Notifications of Interest (NOI) issued prior to November 1, 2017 are valid for six months or to December 31, 2017, whichever comes first. This means that candidates must submit an application for the HCP Stream in the OINP e-Filing Portal within six months of receiving their NOI from Ontario.
  • NOIs issued after November 1, 2017, are valid for 45 days or to December 31, 2017, whichever comes first. This means that candidates who received their NOI after November 1, 2017 must submit an application for the HCP in the OINP e-Filing Portal within 45 days of receiving their NOI from Ontario.
  • All NOIs issued in 2017 are no longer valid after December 31, 2017.
  • If an application is approved after the OINP reaches its nomination allocation for 2017, the nomination certificate will be issued in early 2018.
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Increased Family Class Immigration Targets Follow Other Government Initiatives

Increased Family Class Immigration Targets Follow Other Government Initiatives

Increased Family Class Immigration Targets Follow Other Government Initiatives

Increased Family Class Immigration Targets Follow Other Government Initiatives

When Canada’s Minister of Immigration Ahmed Hussen stood before the gathered press in Toronto last week to reveal and explain the government’s new multi-year immigration plan, he was keen to point out that the majority of the nearly one million permanent residents to be admitted to Canada over the next three years would be economic migrants. The next largest broad category, however, will be newcomers who arrive under the Family Class programs.

It has been two years now since the governing Liberal Party won office in Ottawa from the Conservatives, and nearly a year since Hussen took over as head of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship (IRCC) from his predecessor, John McCallum. The strategy to grow the intake of Family Class immigrants may be seen as the latest in a succession of developments put in place over the last two years to make the process of sponsoring a loved one, or being sponsored, simpler than before.

All in all, the outlook for Family Class applicants looks positive. Under this broad Canadian immigration category, citizens and permanent residents of Canada may sponsor their foreign spouse, common-law partner, dependent child(ren), parent(s), or grandparent(s). Over the next three years, Canada intends to welcome around 265,500 such persons as new permanent residents, to unite them with their family members in Canada.

Processing times down

In a news release last week, IRCC stated that this increased target intake ‘will create the space needed to reduce backlogs and decrease processing times for families sponsoring spouses, children, parents, and grandparents.’

This projection ties in with the government’s goal to reduce processing times, with a particular effort for spouses and common-law partners being sponsored while residing in Canada. In December, 2016, and to much media attention, then-Minister of Immigration McCallum announced that processing times for Inland sponsorship would be halved, from 24 months to 12 months. As of today, this target is being met in the majority of cases.

Extension of work permit pilot program

Not only can sponsored spouses and common-law partners enjoy quicker processing, but the government has ensured that they have the opportunity to work while awaiting a decision on the application. An open work permit pilot program, first introduced by the Conservative government in 2014, was subsequently extended by the Liberals in both 2015 and 2016.

The extension of this popular pilot program has meant that many sponsored persons residing in Canada can sustain themselves and their families economically while their application for permanent residence works its way through the system. Work permit holders can remain engaged with the Canadian labor market, rather than having to wait, a factor that may also benefit their career prospects over the long term.

Conditional PR provision removed

Another move that makes the settlement in Canada easier for some sponsored newcomers took place last April, when the government removed what was known as conditional permanent residence.

Under this government policy, brought in by the Conservatives in 2012, sponsored spouses and common-law partners had to live with their sponsors for at least two years upon admission to Canada as a permanent resident if, at the time they applied, the relationship had begun less than two years previously and the couple had no children in common. The provision had been introduced as a means to deter people from seeking to immigrate to Canada through non-genuine relationships.

However, by 2017 the Liberals had resolved that while cases of marriage or relationship fraud exist, the majority of relationships are genuine and most sponsorship applications are made in good faith. An additional concern that led to the removal of the provision was that vulnerable sponsored spouses or partners may have stayed in abusive relationships because they are afraid of losing their permanent resident status, even though an exception to the condition existed for those types of situations.

Definition of dependent child changed

For Canadian immigration purposes, between August, 2014 and October, 2017 an individual applying for permanent residence could include dependent children under 19 years of age on their application. Leading up to the 2015 federal election, the Liberal manifesto stated that increasing the age definition of dependency for immigration to under 22 years of age would be a priority. This change finally came into effect on October 24, 2017.

While not strictly concerned only with the Family Class programs, this important change nonetheless affects all Canadian immigration categories, including the Family Class. Canadian citizens and permanent residents with eligible dependents abroad, who may not necessarily have been eligible before the change, may now be able to sponsor those family members for immigration to Canada.

Higher PGP intake, new process

The Parent and Grandparent Program (PGP) is part of the Family Class category. Through the PGP, Canadian citizens and permanent residents may sponsor foreign parents and grandparents to immigrate to Canada as permanent residents.

The final PGP application intake cycle under the Conservatives took place in early 2015 and allowed for 5,000 applications to be accepted for processing. At that time, the program operated on a first-come, first-served basis, a process that the Liberals continued into 2016. However, the new government doubled the intake to 10,000 applications. Then for 2017 a new application process was revealed, whereby potential sponsors first declared their interest in the program before the government selected at random those who could go on to submit an application. Later in the year, the government issued more invitations to apply for the PGP, in line with the target intake for the year.

Under the government’s new multi-year immigration plan, there is to be a gradual, steady increase in the number of admissions under the PGP so that by 2020, around 21,000 new permanent residents will be admitted through the program. This will allow IRCC to whittle down the backlog of submitted applications awaiting processing, while also providing scope for new applications to be submitted in future application cycles.

If you are looking to Study, Work, Visit, Invest or Migrate to Canada, contact Global Gateways.

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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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