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Ontario reopens popular immigration streams targeting international graduates

The Canadian province of Ontario reopened its Masters Graduate Stream and PhD Graduate Stream on January 29.

The Masters Graduate and PhD Graduate streams are two of the most sought-after immigration programs offered under the Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program (OINP). No job offer is required to apply to these streams, which are designed to retain international graduates who studied in the province.

Intake limits through these two first-come, first-served streams are often reached quickly, and the Masters Graduate Stream closed around an hour after it opened. Ontario did not disclose how many applications it was accepting for the current application intake period.

The PhD Graduate Stream remains open to applications.

The two streams opened on three occasions in 2017 — in February, May and October — and also reached their intake limits quickly. The OINP said it expects to reopen the Masters Graduate Stream periodically this year until Ontario’s 2018 provincial nomination allocation is fulfilled. The OINP can nominate 6,600 people through its various immigration streams this year, up 600 over 2017.

Ontario is the most popular study destination for international students, particularly post-graduate students, who are attracted by the quality of education and research opportunities offered across the province.

Applicants approved for provincial nomination through these streams receive a ‘base’ provincial nomination certificateand may be in the position to submit an application for permanent residence to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).

Base streams are not aligned with the federal Express Entry system, but provide interested individuals a pathway to Canadian permanent residence.

Immigration authorities in Ontario recommended that applicants review the program application guides before applying for any possible changes to criteria and processing procedures resulting from the coming into effect of the Ontario Immigration Act on January 1, 2018.

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