Immigration program for rural Ontario communities up for consultation

According to the Ontario government, a new immigration pilot program aimed at bringing foreign skilled workers to rural and small communities in Ontario may be approved by 2020.

Ontario’s Ministry of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade said in a statement that it is working with stakeholders in select community to determine interest in the proposed Ontario Regional Immigration Pilot, and research “existing community immigrant attraction and retention efforts.”

The names of the communities involved in the consultations have not been revealed.

The communities are a “geographically and culturally diverse sample” according the Ontario government, with a population size of 20,000 to 200,000, with undisclosed “economic characteristics”, and of which all have the appropriate institutions for newcomer support.

The government stated that the consultation will allow it to determine whether the selected communities have both local interest for immigration, as well as appropriate capacity. It would be operated by the Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program, a provincial immigration stream.

The update goes on to say, “final selection of pilot communities would be based on data analysis, along with the results of engagement with communities.”

No date has been determined when the selected communities will be revealed, or when prospect immigrants may apply.

Regional immigration streams a new trend in Canada

The Government of Ontario says it aims to support community-led efforts to attract foreign skilled workers.

In a statement, it reads “An Ontario pilot would specifically target the needs of Ontario communities and explore how to better regionalize the Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program to better support Ontario employers in smaller communities.” It goes to clarify that the proposed pilot would not duplicate the federal government’s new immigration stream, the Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot.

The federal immigration pilot works with six communities in Northern Ontario, as well as many more rural and remote communities in other provinces to attract foreign skilled workers and provide them permanent residence.

These pilots, and others such as the Atlantic Immigration Pilot (AIP) and British Columbia’s Regional Entrepreneur Pilot are vital to the country’s economy as they address the issue of an aging population and growing emigration of younger, skilled individuals to more populated towns and cities.

The proposed Ontario Regional Immigration Pilot comes after various businesses in Northern Ontario have asked the government to create an immigration program similar to those in other provinces, designed to hire foreign workers for positions they haven’t been able to fill locally.

For more information on how to take advantage of these immigrations streams, contact Green Light Canada.


Ontario’s first immigration lottery invites 1,600 tech workers with low CRS scores

Ontario held its first draw for tech workers on July 12, inviting 1,623 Express Entry candidates with technological work experience to apply for a provincial nomination for permanent residence.

Those invited in the July 12 draw had a CRS (Comprehensive Ranking System) score of 439 to 459, with an Express Entry profile created between July 12, 2018 to July 12, 2019.

The Ontario Nomination Program (OINP) announced that it would begin holding Tech Draws to meet the growing demand for workers in the province’s tech sector.

Ontario is home to several tech companies, located in cities such as Waterloo, Toronto, and Ottawa.

According to GBRE Group, tech companies in Toronto alone created more jobs in 2017, than in the San Francisco Bay area.

First step: Apply for Express Entry

Candidate to wish to be considered for a tech draw invitation must be registered until the federal Express Entry system, under the Federal Skilled Worker Class or Canadian Experience Class.

Candidates in the Express Entry are assessed by various factors under the CRS scoring system.

A provincial nomination is very helpful as it gives candidates 600 more CRS points, which can guarantee permanent residence.

Usually, the minimum score required to receive an invitation from Express Entry draws range from 438 to 470 as of this year, with 450 being the most common.

It has only occurred once this year, that candidates in the Federal Skilled Worker Class and Canadian Experience Class streams have made the cut-off in an Express Entry draw with a CRS score of 439.

How do Tech Draws work?

Tech Draws are run by the province’s Human Capital Priorities immigrant stream, which allows the OINP to search for Express Entry candidates who meet the stream’s requirements.

A job is not required to be eligible, however, candidates must have one year of full-time experience (or equivalent part-time experience) in one of the following six tech fields:

  • Software engineers and designers (NOC 2173)
  • Computer programmers and interactive media developers (NOC 2174)
  • Computer engineers (NOC 2147)
  • Web designers and developers (NOC 2175)
  • Database analysts and data administrators (NOC 2172)
  • Computer and information systems managers (NOC 0213)

NOC means “National Occupational Classification”, a system of classification for all job types in the Canadian labour market.

For more information on how to be eligible for tech draws, contact Green Light Canada.


Canada announces new permanent residency pathway for temporary agri-food workers

Temporary foreign workers who have experience in Canada’s agri-food sector will have the opportunity to obtain permanent residence status, as of early 2020.

The Agri-Food Immigration Pilot is a three-year long program designed to keep experienced foreign workers with job offers in Canada, for the benefit of the agricultural and agri-food industry.

According to the Government of Canada, the industry exported $66.2 billion in products, and is responsible for 1 in 8 jobs in the country. Additionally, industries such as meat processing and mushroom products have experienced “ongoing difficulty in finding and keeping new employees.”

At the moment, migrant farm workers who come to Canada through the Temporary Foreign Worker program for season work only receive work permits that allow a limited stay in Canada, and do not have a pathway to permanent residence status.

The jobs and industries eligible under the new Agri-Food Immigration Pilot are:

  • Meat processing
    • Retail butcher
    • Industrial butcher
    • Food processing labourer
  • Mushroom production, greenhouse crop production, livestock raising
    • Harvesting labourer
    • General farm worker
    • Farm supervisor

Only 2,750 applicants will be process into the pilot each year. Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) estimates that the pilot could bring 16,500 new permanent residents (which includes family members) into Canada over the pilot’s three year duration.

Eligibility requirements

The eligibility requirements for the Agri-Food Immigration Pilot are:

  • 12 months of full-time, non-seasonal work experience in Canada, through the Temporary Foreign Worker Program. Must be in one of the eligible occupations.
  • Canadian Language Benchmark level 4 in English or French
  • Foreign equivalent of a Canadian high school education or greater
  • A job offer for full-time, non-seasonal work in Canada

Additional details on how to apply will be available in early 2020, according to the federal government.

For any questions about applying for a work permit, contact Green Light Canada.


Nova Scotia Nominee Program helps bring skilled newcomers to shrinking province

Nova Scotia is well-known for its long history of immigration. Called Canada’s equivalent to New York’s Ellis Island, from 1928 to 1971 had more than one million immigrant arrive by boat at its Halifax Harbour.

Famous for its beautiful coastline, Nova Scotia is home to Halifax, it’s capital and largest city.

With its shrinking population and aging labour force, the province is eagerly looking for people to fill job vacancies and call the province their home. In 2018, the province welcomed a record number of newcomers and saw its population peak at its highest.

Express Entry-linked streams

The need for new immigrants is aided by the Nova Scotia Provincial Nominee Program (NSNP), which allows the province to select skilled worker for permanent residence.

The NSNP has a number of streams under the federal Express Entry system.

Express Entry candidates who receive a provincial nomination from Nova Scotia receive 600 additional CRS points, thereby guaranteeing them an opportunity to apply for permanent residence.

Nova Scotia’s three streams are:

Nova Scotia Demand is for candidates with post-secondary education and experience in one of 11 occupations, divided into two categories:

  • Category A is open year-round to Express Entry candidates with an eligible job offer in the province
  • Category B opens occasionally to applications from Express Entry candidates without a job offer

Nova Scotia Experience is designed for high-skilled individuals who have one year of eligible work experience in the province.

The Labour Market Priorities Stream is for Express Entry candidates who have work experience in a specific occupation.

In order to apply for NSNP’s many nominations streams, it is mandatory to create a profile on the federal Express Entry system.

In order to be considered for any of the NSNP’s enhanced nomination streams, the first step is to enter a profile in the federal Express Entry pool.

Base Streams

The NSNP has many nominations streams that operate outside of the Express Entry system. These include:

  • Skilled Worker
  • Physician
  • Occupations in Demand

Entrepreneur Streams

The NSNP also has two streams for those who want to establish a business in Nova Scotia:

  • Entrepreneur
  • International Graduate Entrepreneur

Atlantic Immigration Pilot

Nova Scotia also participate in the Atlantic Immigration Pilot, a program in collaboration with three other provinces (Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick, and Newfoundland and Labrador)

The AIP helps employers hire foreign workers for job vacancies they haven’t been able to fill locally.

For more information on immigrating to Nova Scotia, contact Green Light Canada.


Express Entry candidates with tech experience eligible for Ontario draw

The Government of Ontario has announced plans to target experienced tech workers who are registered in the Express Entry system, for a new provincial immigration draw. The selected candidates will have a pathway to permanent residence.

The draw will be targeted to Express Entry candidates who have work experience in six tech-related occupations, through the current Human Capital Priorities Stream.

Express Entry candidates and ranked based on their CRS (Comprehensive Ranking System), which is based on several factors such as language skills, education, etc.

Express Entry candidates who have a provincial nomination receive 600 additional points, thus guaranteeing permanent residence.

Ontario is the top choice of new immigrants to Canada, as 65% of newcomers chose the province as their choice of settlement.

To be eligible for the OINP (Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program) tech draw, individuals must create an Express Entry profile.

Tech draws will reflect employer needs

Tech draws have been a recent immigration trend for Ontario, due to an ongoing shortage of tech workers in major tech-hubs such as Waterloo, Toronto, and Ottawa.

It is reported that up to 220,000 skilled workers are needed for Canada’s technology sector by 2021.

OINP will search for Express Entry profiles that meet the following occupations:

  • Software engineers and designers (NOC 2173)
  • Computer programmers and interactive media developers (NOC 2174)
  • Computer engineers (NOC 2147)
  • Web designers and developers (NOC 2175)
  • Database analysts and data administrators (NOC 2172)
  • Computer and information systems managers (NOC 0213)

Job offers are not required in order to be eligible. As well, the Human Capital Priorities Stream has in the past invited candidates with lower than average CRS scores.

Selected candidates will receive a Notification of Interest from the OINP, and will need to apply by 45 days.

For more information on how to be eligible for tech draws, contact Green Light Canada.






41,800 candidates invited to apply for permanent residence, according to ExpressEntry mid-2019 report

The first half of 2019 saw the most invitations in the entire history of Canada’s Express Entry system, with 41,800 candidates selected.

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) held 13 draws during those six months, issuing 41,800 invitations.

The Express Entry system is Canada’s main source of recruiting foreign skilled workers. It manages several streams, such as Federal Skilled Worker ClassFederal Skilled Trades Class and Canadian Experience Class.

Candidates who wish to be eligible for programs and draws must create a profile in the Express Entry, where they are ranked using the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS), which awards points based on various factors such as language skills and educational background.

Additional points are awarded to candidates with a provincial nomination, job offer, or past education in Canada. High-ranked candidates can be invited to apply for permanent residence.

A job offer is not mandatory for being selected under the Express Entry pool.

For more information on the Express Entry immigration system, contact Green Light Canada.


Quebec’s immigration program for post-secondary graduates suspended until November 2019

The Quebec Experience Program’s stream for post-secondary graduates has suspended applications until November 1, 2019, as announced by the Government of Quebec.

The exceptions to the new ruling include:

  • Graduates who reside in Quebec, and hold a work permit that is valid on July 10, 2019, and expires before November 1, 2019
  • Candidates who had their application for a Quebec Selection Certificate denied on June 16, 2019, and were either a temporary resident of the province when they applied or were working or studying in the province on June 16, 2019

On June 16, 2019, the province enacted several reforms to its immigration laws, cancelling pending applications on its Quebec Skilled Worker Program, and other applications under the Quebec Experience Program.

The Programme de l’expérience québécoise (PEQ) provides a pathway to permanent residence for eligible temporary residents who have studied or worked in Quebec on a temporary basis.

“The basis of this decision is to give priority to applicants who occupy a job in Québec during this period,” the government said in a statement.

The new ministerial guideless cited the need for the reason for the increase in international students being selected by the PEQ is to fill job vacancies for occupation in-demand in the province, as well help regions in the province where labour shortages exist.

The ministerial instructions cited, among other factors, the significant increase in international students being selected through the PEQ in recent years, saying there is a need to focus on the selection of candidates with either work experience or training in an area of expertise that’s currently in-demand in Quebec and especially those regions of the province where labour shortages are more acute.

Quebec’s Ministry of Immigration clarifies that Quebec graduates who wish to remain in the province can apply for a Post-Graduate Work Permit from the federal government.

For more information on how to immigrate to Quebec, contact Green Light Canada.