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Ontario Is Requesting More Provincial Immigrants

The Ontario government has introduced legislation proposing an expansion of the Provincial Nominee Program (PNP). Under the proposal, Ontario would select 5,000 immigrants per year, which is a dramatic increase from the current 1,300 economic immigrants accepted in the program each year.  Moreover, Ontario is seeking to attract skilled professionals in specific fields, such as information technology.  Unfortunately, annual caps to the Federal Skilled Worker Program introduced within the last year by the federal government may obstruct the province’s designs on attracting more skilled workers and their families to Ontario.

The PNP allows employers to fill skilled positions when there is a shortage of qualified candidates to be found within Ontario.  Under the proposed new legislation, new immigrants would apply first to an expanded Ontario Provincial Nominee Program. Once approved by the province, they would undergo the usual medical and security clearances by the federal government immigration process to obtain permanent residence.

In the past, Ontario provincial nominees could obtain permanent residence through a process lasting a matter of months, including both the provincial selection and federal clearance processes.  However, the reputation of the PNP in Ontario has been threatened in the last few years because of severely protracted processing times both provincially and federally.  The Ontario and federal governments are now indicating that processing times at both levels are being shortened, resulting in greater efficiency in program processing once again.

As the federal government’s temporary foreign worker programs and skilled worker immigration programs become increasingly restrictive and compliance driven, the Ontario Provincial Nominee Program route may well become a better option for Canadian businesses seeking to hire foreign talent.