Ontario to introduce Expression of Interest system for 5 immigration streams

Public consultations suggested the new system would be “fairer and more predictable.”

Ontario is changing the registration system of five of its economic-class immigration streams in the coming weeks.

Instead of the previous first-come-first-served model, the Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program (OINP) is moving to an Expression of Interest (EOI) system, a points-based system that ranks candidates based on human capital and labour market factors. Many other Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs) already use this type of system for managing new registrants.

The OINP will apply the new EOI system to the following streams:

  • Employer Job Offer Category streams (Foreign Worker, International Student and In-Demand Skills);
  • Masters Graduate stream; and
  • Ph.D. Graduate stream.

While the OINP is changing the system, these streams are currently closed to new applicants. They will reopen when the new EOI system launches in the coming weeks. The OINP did not say what date that would be.

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How will the EOI system change immigration to Ontario?

The immigration streams that are switching over to an EOI registration system used to operate like rushed seating. Ontario would open their web portal to accept registrations from people who wanted to immigrate through one of these Ontario PNPs.

Because of popular demand, these registration windows usually lasted only a few minutes before they would become full. There were a number of other problems, the OINP had to have a dedicated email address for people who experienced technical difficulties that affected their registration, and some complained that the system was unfair to people with slow internet connections.

EOI systems are used by most other PNPs. Typically, it requires people to submit a resume with their work experience, education, and any other information. They are then given a provincial score, and if they score high enough they may be invited to apply for a provincial nomination for permanent residence.

In the fall of 2020, Ontario started accepting public consultations on the proposed EOI system. They received generally positive feedback, an OINP spokesperson told CIC News.

The province received about 250 feedback submissions, between September 9 and October 23, 2020. These submissions came from individuals, prospective applicants, employers, immigration organizations and representatives, as well as industry associations and professional associations.

“Many respondents believed that the proposed EOI system would be fairer and more predictable, and would be more user-friendly than the current intake process,” an OINP spokesperson said in an email.

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