The Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program (OINP) has implemented the National Occupational Classification (NOC) 2021 system, as required by the federal government. Any new documents or registrations submitted to the OINP must reflect the new federal NOC 2021 system.

You can find more information about the Federal NOC 2021 on the Statistics Canada and Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada webpages.

Overview

The PhD Graduate stream gives international graduates with an Ontario PhD degree the opportunity to apply to permanently live and work in Ontario.

You must first register in the OINP’s Expression of Interest System and receive an invitation to apply before you can apply online to be nominated by the Ontario government for permanent residence.

If you are nominated, your next step is to apply to the federal government through Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC). They make the final decision on who becomes a permanent resident.

Stream requirements

After you receive an invitation to apply, you may apply to the PhD Graduate stream. You must meet all the requirements in the categories below in order for your application to be approved. You don’t need a job offer to apply.

Please refer to section 9 of Ontario Regulation 422/17 for more details on each requirement.

1. Expression of interest and invitation to apply

  • You must have received an invitation to apply and applied within the deadline identified.
  • You must demonstrate that you had the qualifications that you claimed you had in the expression of interest that you registered with the OINP and attested to.

2. Education

You must have completed the requirements necessary to obtain a PhD degree. The degree must be from an eligible university in Ontario (see the list of eligible Ontario universities offering PhD degrees below).

At least two years of your PhD studies must have been completed while legally living and studying in Ontario.

You don’t qualify if you have received a bursary, grant or scholarship that requires you return to your home country after you earn your PhD degree. You may only apply after you have fulfilled those commitments and can demonstrate an intention to live in Ontario.

3. Residency in Ontario

You must have legally lived in Ontario for at least one year in the past two years before you apply.

Note that your one year of residency can be cumulative. This means that there can be gaps provided that all the periods of residency in Ontario add up to 12 months within the past two years before you apply.

4. Settlement funds

You must have enough money to support yourself and your dependent family members when you settle in Canada.

Note that a family member includes your spouse, common law partner and children under the age of 22, including their children.

You can meet this requirement through one or a combination of any of the following:

  1. funds as demonstrated by the balance listed in bank statements, or statements of accounts showing other investments such as non-locked in, fixed term deposits, mutual funds, etc.
  2. annual earnings from ongoing employment in Ontario, and/or
  3. a job offer in Ontario

Learn more about the amount of money you must have available in order to apply (see “How much money you'll need”).

Example: You have checked how much money you must have available and, based on your family size, you must have $29,000 (CAD). You have a job offer in Ontario with an annual wage of $25,000 and you have a balance of $5,000 in your savings account for a total of $30,000. By using a combination of your job offer and bank statement, you would meet the settlements fund requirement.

If you provide bank statements that include a one-time large deposit, we may ask you to provide additional documentation to support that your funds are free of debt or liability.

5. Intention to live in Ontario

You must intend to live and work in Ontario after you’ve been granted permanent residence. We determine this by examining your ties to Ontario, which can include doing things like:

  • working or having worked in Ontario
  • getting job offers, to or applying/interviewing for jobs
  • studying
  • volunteering
  • leasing or owning property
  • visiting
  • having professional networks and affiliations, family ties and social or personal relationships

6. Legal status in Canada (if applicable)

If you are applying from within Canada, you must have legal status (a visitor record, study permit, or work permit) at the time you apply and should maintain that status until the time of nomination.

You may apply if you are in ‘implied status’ at the time of your OINP application submission. ‘Implied status’ means that you submitted an application to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) to renew/extend your temporary status document (a visitor record, work permit, study permit) before its expiry date. You can remain in Canada and continue to work or study under the same conditions as your existing permit until a decision is made on your pending IRCC application.

7. Application period

You must submit your application within two years of completing the requirements necessary to obtain your PhD degree.

This means that the date on your degree must be within two years of your OINP application submission date, not the date you received the invitation to apply. For example, if your degree is dated June 1, 2019, you must apply to this stream before June 1, 2021.

If you don’t have your degree yet, use the date on the official letter from your university which states when your degree will be granted.

Important: you must have completed your PhD degree before you submit your application.

Scoring factors

Once you register an expression of interest under this stream you will be assigned points based on the following factors.

If you are invited to apply, you will be required to submit specific documents to support each scoring factor for which you received points. Scoring factors are not the same as stream criteria. You must meet all criteria for this stream and provide the mandatory documents with your application. Refer to the document checklist for the PhD Graduate stream.

Employment / labour market factors

Work or study permit status
  • With valid work or study permit – 10 points
  • Without valid work or study permit – 0 points
Earnings history

Based on a Notice of Assessment issued by the Canada Revenue Agency in the last five years.

  • $40k or more earnings in a year – 3 points
  • Less than $40k earnings in a year – 0 points

Education

Field of study

Canadian credential required.

  • STEM/Health (Engineering, Health, Math, Computer Science) and Trades (agriculture and natural resources operations and management, mechanics and repair, architecture, construction and precision production) - 12 points
  • Business and administration, social, legal, education, behavioral science, personal, security and transport services, social work and related programs - 6 points
  • Arts and humanities, BHASE programs, n.e.c - 0 points
Canadian education experience

Credential must be for a degree or diploma program from a Canadian public institution that takes at least two years to complete on a full-time basis, or for a degree, diploma or certificate program from a Canadian public institution that takes at least one year to complete on a full-time basis and requires a degree as an admission requirement.

  • More than one Canadian credential – 10 points
  • One Canadian credential – 5 points

Language

Official language ability
  • CLB 9 or higher – 10 points
  • CLB 8 – 6 points
  • CLB 7 – 4 points
  • CLB 6 or lower – 0 points
Knowledge of official languages
  • 2 Official Languages – 10 points
  • 1 Official Language – 5 points

Regionalization

Regional immigration: location of study
  • Northern Ontario – 10 points
  • Other areas outside GTA (except Northern Ontario) – 8 points
  • Inside GTA (except Toronto) – 3 points
  • Toronto – 0 points

If you are ready to apply

Before you can apply to this stream you must register an expression of interest and receive an invitation to apply.

Eligible Ontario universities offering PhD programs

To qualify for the PhD Graduate stream, your PhD degree must be from one of the universities listed below:

  • Brock University
  • Carleton University
  • Dominican University College
  • Lakehead University
  • Laurentian University
  • McMaster University
  • Nipissing University
  • Queen’s University
  • Royal Military College of Canada
  • Ryerson University
  • Saint Paul University (Federated with the University of Ottawa)
  • St. Jerome’s University (Federated with the University of Waterloo)
  • Trent University
  • University of Guelph
  • University of Ontario Institute of Technology
  • University of Ottawa
  • University of St. Michael’s College (Federated with the University of Toronto)
  • University of Toronto
  • University of Trinity College (Federated with the University of Toronto)
  • University of Waterloo
  • University of Windsor
  • Victoria University (Federated with the University of Toronto)
  • Western University
  • Wilfrid Laurier University
  • York University

Contact us

Ask us a question by email at ontarionominee@ontario.ca or by phone from Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at: