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  • from CIC News

Ontario’s active Human Capital Priorities Stream has Express Entry candidates taking notice

Express Entry-linked Human Capital Priorities Stream is busier than ever — here's how it works

With the federal Express Entry system conducting draws approximately every two weeks, Ontario’s Human Capital Priorities Stream has captured the attention of economic immigration candidates with five invitation rounds since the start of 2018, including three in February.

The Human Capital Priorities Stream (HCP) allows Ontario to search the Express Entry pool for candidates with a Comprehensive Ranking System score of at least 400 points, among other criteria, and invite them to apply for a provincial nomination for permanent residence. An Express Entry candidate with a provincial nomination receives an additional 600 points toward their CRS score.

Express Entry invites many more candidates throughout the year than does the HCP stream. In 2017, for example, Express Entry issued more than 80,000 invitations to apply for Canadian permanent residence, compared to Ontario’s total allocation of 6,500 nominations, of which only a portion is used for the HCP.

In the first two months of 2018, Ontario issued 1,808 invitations to apply for a provincial nomination through the HCP. In that same time period, Express Entry issued 11,500 Invitations to Apply for Canadian permanent residence in four draws.

Still, the Human Capital Priorities Stream is more active than it has ever been, and Ontario has introduced a number of welcome improvements to the way the stream operates, including how information is announced regarding draws from the Express Entry pool.

CRS scores required

The Government of Ontario is now announcing the range of Comprehensive Ranking System scores among selected candidates, as well as the date range that shows when Express Entry candidates selected in each draw entered their profiles into the Express Entry pool.

To date, the lowest CRS score selected through the HCP stream in 2018 was 433.

The lowest minimum CRS score required announced Federal Express Entry draws in 2018 has been 442, on two separate occasions.

It is important to note, however, that not every candidate with a score in the range announced by Ontario receives a Notification of Interest, or NOI. This is different than Canada’s Federal Express Entry draws, where every candidate with a score above the minimum CRS cut-off is invited to apply for Canadian permanent residence.

Ontario’s NOI process

Once an Express Entry candidate is selected through Ontario’s HCP, he or she is issued an NOI and can then proceed to apply to the Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program (OINP) for a provincial nomination.

After a candidate receives an NOI from Ontario, he or she has 45 calendar days to submit their application to the OINP. Applicants to the OINP pay a processing fee of $1,500.

Once an application is approved by Ontario, a candidate receives a letter from the OINP through his or her online account with Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada notifying them of the nomination. The candidate then has 30 calendar days to accept the nomination from Ontario in the Express Entry system.

Yet not every candidate invited by Ontario to apply necessarily ends up applying within the 45 day deadline.

Some candidates may even risk waiting to apply after receiving NOI from Ontario in the hopes of receiving an ITA from IRCC and potentially saving some fees and time.

Profile submission dates

Another difference between Ontario HCP draws and federal Express Entry draws concerns the submission dates of valid profiles.

Profiles in the federal Express Entry pool are valid for one year, and candidates are not excluded from an Express Entry draw based on the date their profile is submitted. The submission date only matters when IRCC employs its tie-break rule.

During Ontario HCP draws, the date of profile submission has been more relevant. Since the start of 2018,OINP invitation rounds have detailed the date range when invited Express Entry candidates entered their profile in the Express Entry pool.

This development follows a 2017 OINP advisory that encouraged prospective applicants to the Human Capital Priorities Stream to create a new profile in the Express Entry system “to make it easier for the OINP to identify their profile during its search of the federal government’s Express Entry pool.”

So far in 2018, Ontario has listed January 1, 2018, as the early end of the profile submission date range in all five HCP invitation rounds.

While there may be advantages to submitting a new profile, there may also be some risk. Two HCP invitation rounds in February had profile submission cut-off dates that predated the draw by a few days.

Other Ontario Express Entry programs

In addition to the HCP, Ontario also has its Express Entry: French-Speaking Skilled Worker Stream and the Express Entry Skilled Trades Stream.

The Ontario French-Speaking Skilled Worker Stream is for French-Speaking skilled workers who also have strong English language abilities and who want to live and work permanently in Ontario.

The Ontario Express Entry Skilled Trades stream targets tradespersons with ongoing or recent experience of working in Ontario.

“Draws through Ontario’s Human Capital Priorities Stream and federal Express Entry draws have several important differences that everyone should keep in mind,” said Attorney David Cohen, senior partner at the Campbell, Cohen immigration law firm in Montreal. “The first step toward pursuing either of these exciting immigration avenues is to get in the federal Express Entry pool.”

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