Ontario’s Express Entry Skilled Trades Stream is an immigration stream under the Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program (OINP).

It gives foreign nationals with Ontario work experience in eligible skilled trades the opportunity to apply to permanently live and work in Ontario.

You must have a valid profile in the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada’s (IRCC’s) Express Entry system and receive a Notification of Interest from Ontario before you can apply online to be nominated by the Ontario government for permanent residence.

If you are nominated, your next step will be to apply to the federal government through IRCC. They make the final decision on who becomes a permanent resident.

Steps to apply

To qualify under Ontario’s Express Entry Skilled Trades Stream, you must meet all the requirements below. Please review the steps to apply for all of Ontario’s Express Entry streams. You do not need a job offer to apply.

Stream requirements

Please refer to section 12 of Ontario Regulation 422/17 for more details on each requirement.

1. Work experience

You must have:

  • at least one year of cumulative paid full-time work experience (or the equivalent in paid part-time work) in Ontario Major Groups 72 (excluding occupations under transportation officers), 73, 82, 83, 93 (excluding aircraft assemblers and aircraft assembly inspectors) or Minor Group 6320 (excluding cooks) of the National Occupational Classification (NOC)

Your work experience must have been:

  • obtained within the last two years from the date of submitting your application to the OINP
  • in one or more of the occupations that you identified in your Express Entry profile
  • in Ontario while maintaining legal status in Canada

Cumulative means:

  • the work you’ve done must add up to one year, but it does not have to be one year of continuous work

Full-time work experience means:

  • working in a job with at least 30 hours of paid work in a week that amounts to at least 1,560 hours of paid work in one year

Part-time equivalent work experience means:

  • working in one job for at least 15 hours per week for two years that amounts to at least 1,560 hours in that two-year period, or
  • working in more than one job for at least 30 hours per week for one year that amounts to at least 1,560 hours of paid work in that one-year period

Please note:

  • your work experience must have been obtained over a period of at least one year
  • work experience totaling 1,560 hours obtained in less than one year period does not qualify
  • if you worked in a compulsory trade, only work experience acquired after becoming qualified to practice that occupation in Ontario will qualify
  • paid work experience gained while studying full time at a post-secondary institution (for example, on a co-op work term) and self-employment are not eligible
  • volunteer work and unpaid internships do not count as work experience

2. Valid certificate or licence (if applicable)

If you are claiming work experience in a compulsory trade, even if you are no longer working in the trade, you must have a valid certificate or licence in Ontario at the time you apply and you must have held a valid certificate or licence that covers the period of work experience that is being used to meet the minimum one year of work experience in an eligible skilled trades occupation.

Find out if your job is in a compulsory trade that requires a licence.

3. Current residence in Ontario and legal status in Canada

You must be living in Ontario and hold a valid work permit at the time you apply.

If your work permit expired, you may still apply to the OINP if you have submitted an application to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) to renew/extend your work permit before its expiry date. In these cases, you are considered to be in maintained status. You can remain in Canada and continue to work under the same conditions as your existing work permit until a decision is made on the pending application.

You are not required to have a job at the time you apply.

4. Language

You must be able to understand, read, write and speak either English or French at a Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) level 5 or higher.

To prove that you have the mandatory language skills, you must take an approved English or French language test before you submit your application to this stream.

The test date must be within 2 years prior to the application submission date.

For English tests, we accept:

  • International English Language Testing (IELTS) – we only accept the General Training test. Please note that we do not accept the IELTS One Skill Retake test.
  • Canadian English Language Proficiency Index Program (CELPIP) – we only accept the General test
  • Pearson Test of English (PTE) Core – please note we only accept the PTE Core test, not the PTE Academic test

For French tests, we accept:

  • Test d’évaluation de français pour le Canada (TEF)
  • Test de connaissance du français pour le Canada (TCF Canada)

Learn more about the English and French language tests.

5. 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:

  • 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, etcetera
  • annual earnings from ongoing employment in Ontario
  • a job offer in Ontario

Learn more about the amount of money you must have available 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.

Note: 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.

6. Intention to live in Ontario

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

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

Contact us

Ask us a question via webform or by phone from Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at:

Use our Stream Selector Tool to identify which OINP stream you may be eligible for.