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New Ontario draws will target Express Entry candidates with tech experience

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Ontario tech draws will provide a pathway to permanent residence for tech workers in 6 occupations

The Government of Ontario has revealed its plans for nominating Express Entry candidates with work experience in the technology sector for Canadian permanent residence.

Ontario had previously announced that it would create a dedicated stream for tech workers. Instead, it will hold targeted draws for Express Entry candidates with work experience in six tech-related occupations through its existing Human Capital Priorities Stream.

The Express Entry system is Canada’s main source of skilled workers and manages the pool of candidates for the Federal Skilled Worker Class, Federal Skilled Trades Class and Canadian Experience Class.

Eligible candidates for these programs are entered into the Express Entry pool where they are ranked based on scores awarded under the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS).

A candidate’s CRS score is based on factors that include age, education, skilled work experience and proficiency in English or French.

Express Entry candidates with a provincial nomination receive an additional 600 points toward their CRS score, effectively guaranteeing an invitation to apply for Canadian permanent residence, or ITA.

Ontario is the most popular destination for new permanent residents of Canada, including those admitted through the Express Entry system. In 2018, 65% of new immigrants admitted through Express Entry had Ontario as their destination province.

To be considered for an invitation through an OINP tech draw, candidates must first create an Express Entry profile.

Tech draws will reflect employer needs:

Interest in the tech-focused draws is high in Ontario, which is home to major tech hubs located in the cities of Toronto, Ottawa and Kitchener-Waterloo.

Ontario is currently facing a shortage of tech workers, as is the rest of Canada. It is estimated that up to 220,000 skilled workers will be needed in Canada’s Information and Communication Technology sector by 2021.

The OINP uses its Human Capital Priorities Stream to search the Express Entry pool for candidates who match specified federal and provincial criteria.

OINP tech draws will search the Express Entry pool for eligible candidates with work experience in one of six targeted occupations:

  • Software engineers and designers (NOC 2173)
  • Computer programmers and interactive media developers (NOC 2174)
  • Computer engineers (NOC 2147)
  • Web designers and developers (NOC 2175)
  • Database analysts and data administrators (NOC 2172)
  • Computer and information systems managers (NOC 0213)

NOC stands for National Occupational Classification, which determines an occupation’s skill level and skill type.

The OINP said the six occupations reflect current needs in Ontario and were selected based on consultations with employers and other stakeholders across the province.

The Human Capital Priorities Stream does not require a  job offer and has a history of inviting Express Entry candidates with CRS scores that haven’t been high enough for an ITA in one of the federal government’s regular Express Entry draws.

Express Entry candidates selected by the OINP will receive a Notification of Interest from the OINP and have 45 days to apply for a provincial nomination from Ontario.

Nominations on the rise

Ontario receives an annual nomination allocation through the federal government’s Provincial Nominee Program (PNP). Ontario’s allocation under the PNP has grown in each of the last six years and stands at 6,900 for 2019.

Admissions of new permanent residents through the PNP are slated to continue growing in 2020 and 2021, as are admissions through the three programs managed by the Express Entry system.

Overall, Canada could welcome more than one million newcomers between now and 2021.

“Ontario’s tech draws are an important innovation and a great opportunity for Express Entry candidates,” said David Cohen, senior partner with the Campbell, Cohen Canadian immigration law firm in Montreal.

“Ontario has shown a willingness to invite Express Entry candidates with lower scores through its Human Capital Priorities Stream, so we’ll be keeping a close eye on these tech draws to see if that continues.”

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