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New Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program Updates Amid COVID-19

Ontario has released fresh updates related to the impact that COVID-19 is having on some key streams of its Provincial Nominee Program (PNP). The new Ontario Immigrant Nominee program updates are imperative at this point.

Ontario is Canada’s biggest province with nearly 14.5 million people. It attracted approximately forty-five (45) per cent of new permanent residents that arrived in Canada in 2019.

The Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program (OINP) is a major gateway for immigration candidates as Ontario rolled out a record-breaking 7,350 provincial nominations in 2019. The province has conducted seven draws so far in 2020 including three OINP draws since the beginning of the pandemic.

The OINP will continue to accept and process applications and sent out nominations as well as notifications of interest (NOIs) under its Express Entry programs, despite special coronavirus measures being in place.

The province is asking candidates to continue with their submission process even if they are not able to obtain necessary supporting documents, though they are asked to provide a detailed explanation letter explaining the reasons for the missing information or document(s).

Employers should also bear in mind that candidates in the Employer Job Offer class, which includes temporary foreign workers, international students and in-demand skills applicants, are still required to have a full-time, permanent job offer approved by the OINP.

Applications submitted to the OINP will be processed upon confirmation of employment

Applicants and employers are required to quickly inform the OINP of any major changes to their application, including changes in employment/job positions at the basis of job offer streams.

The OINP will contact all employers to confirm that job position offers will continue to meet program requirements. Applications will be accessed depending on the response given by employers about the employment status.

The OINP will continue to process applications if employers show that there have been no significant changes in position.

If an applicant’s employment has been affected by temporary layoffs, such as an extended resumption date or reduced hours of work, the application will be on hold for up to ninety (90) days. If the position has been cancelled or if the employer has put an end to the employment, the application will be considered incomplete and the application fee shall be refunded.

The Ontario immigration will continue to support those who received provincial nominations but are affected by layoffs

Applicants and employers are asked to inform the OINP of any significant changes to their approved employment positions. The conditions of employment have to remain consistent throughout the period of appointment or until they obtain Canadian permanent residence. These conditions include:

  • the employer
  • job title and job descriptions
  • salary/wages
  • work shift
  • working area

Approval of the nominee’s employment could be nullified if conditions or restrictions are not met and employment has been cancelled.

Candidates whose job offers have been withdrawn or was lost are requested to inform the OINP.

Ontario immigration will continue to support the nomination of candidates whose employment has been affected by COVID-19 if they continue to meet the requirements of the program.

In the event of a permanent layoff, nominees will be given ninety (90) days to get support from another employer and will be given the opportunity to lodge a new application to the OINP.

OINP Entrepreneur Stream applications

Those candidates who have received invitations under the OINP Entrepreneur Stream will receive a temporary extension of ninety (90) days and will be reached by e-mail.

In addition, candidates are asked to notify the OINP if they have already submitted a full application under the Entrepreneur Stream and are experiencing difficulties such as:

  • delays in getting information relating to the follow-up of your application
  • temporary closures, suspensions or substantial changes in business activities
  • temporarily inability to meet hiring or employer criteria

According to the May 11 program updates, “No application will be denied, and no approvals will be terminated without informing the applicants and employers.” Ontario will review responses to these notices before making a final decision.

On March 17, 2020, the Ontario provincial government declared a state of emergency to contain the spread of coronavirus and protect the health and safety of Ontarians.

This state of emergency was extended on April 14 and still in effect, although Ontario has recently begun to take steps to re-open its economy following a fall in its COVID-19 growth rate.