Immigration

Changes to OINP promising but still room for improvement

By AdvocateDaily.com Staff

Changes to the Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program (OINP) will boost the province’s competitiveness, says Toronto immigration lawyer Robin Seligman.

Seligman, principal of immigration law boutique Seligman Professional Corporation, welcomed the provincial government’s recently announced measures, which loosened requirements for both its entrepreneur and in-demand skills streams.

“These are excellent changes that will make Ontario more competitive, and I look forward to more people being accepted under these streams,” she tells AdvocateDaily.com.

Under the amendments, prospective applicants in the entrepreneur stream must now make a minimum investment of $600,000 for enterprises within the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), down from a previous threshold of $1 million.

Meanwhile, the minimum required for investments outside the GTA was cut from $500,000 to $200,000. That lower limit will also apply to job creators in the information and communications technology or digital communications sector.

According to the province’s release, net worth minimums were also significantly reduced as part of a fine-tuning of the applicant screening process.

Changes to the in-demand skills stream, which targets foreign workers with job offers in certain selected occupations, have seen the work experience requirement reduced. The range of fields covered by the stream was also expanded with the addition of three National Occupational Classification codes related to personal support workers and transport truck drivers, which the province said would better support Ontario’s changing labour market needs.

Despite the changes, Seligman says there’s still room for improvement to the OINP, noting Ontario was allocated just 6,650 out of the 61,000 spaces available across the country that the federal government plans to award to immigrants via provincial nominee programs in 2019.

Ontario’s allocation almost doubled to 5,500 in 2016, but only modest increases to the province’s nominations have since occurred annually. Last year, Ontario accounted for 6,600 provincial nominees out of 55,000 across Canada.

“Ontario remains under-represented in terms of nominations for sponsorship,” Seligman says.

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