OINP: Ontario Immigration for Master’s, Ph.D. Graduates

OINP for post-graduate students

Lei Wang, a Chinese scholar, recently completed his Ph.D. in Artificial Intelligence at the University of Toronto. Captivated by Ontario’s diversity, Lei aims to stay in Canada permanently. He is now applying through the OINP Ph.D. Graduate Stream, ready to contribute his expertise to Canada’s tech industry. With each step in the application, Lei grows more excited about his future in Ontario. However, he still needs to know more about the OINP options for Master’s and Ph.D. graduates.

What is OINP?

It is noteworthy that exploring the OINP Master’s and Ph.D. Graduate Streams are essential for understanding how Ontario cherishes its diversity. This province isn’t just Toronto’s bustling city; it also includes peaceful areas like the Thousand Islands region and the Point Pelee National Park. Importantly, Ontario leads Canada’s tech and industrial sectors thanks to its innovative universities and research centres. Moreover, its landscapes are diverse, featuring lush farmlands in the south and the rugged Canadian Shield in the north. Also, Ontario’s rich culture comes from its Indigenous communities and a long history of immigration. This makes it an inviting home for newcomers. Specifically, OINP targets skilled professionals like Master’s and Ph.D. graduates, offering them opportunities to thrive professionally and contribute to the province’s economic and cultural prosperity.

While many federal immigrants choose to settle in Ontario, the province also provides its immigration pathways through the Provincial Nominee Program, known as the Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program or OINP. The OINP currently offers the following streams:

OINP Masters Graduate stream eligibility requirements

Before explaining the Ph.D. Graduates Stream, let’s explore the Master’s Graduate Stream. Of course, the first step is to know the eligibility criteria. Therefore, here is a brief list.

  • Invitation to Apply: You must have received an invitation and apply within the specified deadline.
  • Education: Must have completed a master’s degree from an eligible Ontario university, equating to at least one full-time academic year.
  • Current Students: Can apply only if they are pursuing licensure in a regulated occupation in Ontario and working full-time in Ontario.
  • Scholarship Conditions: You cannot apply if bound by a scholarship requiring a return to the home country unless commitments are fulfilled.
  • Language Proficiency: Must meet CLB level 7 or higher in English or French; provide results from an approved language test taken within two years before the application.
  • Ontario Residency: Must have legally resided in Ontario for at least one year within the two years before applying.
  • Settlement Funds: Must demonstrate sufficient funds or income to support oneself and dependents through bank statements, Ontario employment, or job offers.
  • Intention to Live in Ontario: Must intend to reside in Ontario through work, education, property, or personal ties.
  • Residency at the Time of Application: Must be living in Ontario with legal status or be outside Canada when applying.
  • Legal Status in Canada: If applying from within Canada, must maintain legal status until nomination; ‘implied status’ applicants may also apply.
  • Application Period: You must apply within two years of obtaining the Master’s degree, based on the date on the degree or official university letter.

Scoring System for OINP Master’s Graduate Stream

The following list shows the scoring system for the Master’s Graduate Stream. Of course, this is for the OINP Expression of Interest (EOI) system. Furthermore, I’ll share the scoring for the Ph.D. Graduate Stream later in this article.

  • 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 Canada Revenue Agency Notice of Assessment in the last five years):
    • $40k or more earnings in a year: 3 points
    • Less than $40k earnings in a year: 0 points
  • Highest Level of Education (Canadian credential or Educational Credential Assessment required):
    • Ph.D.: 10 points
    • Master’s: 8 points
    • Bachelor’s or equivalent: 6 points
    • College diploma or trade certificate: 5 points
    • Less than college or trade certificate: 0 points
  • Field of Study (Canadian credential required):
    • STEM/Health and Trades: 12 points
    • Business, administration, and related fields: 6 points
    • Arts and humanities, other programs not elsewhere classified: 0 points
  • Canadian Education Experience (Credential from a Canadian public institution):
    • More than one Canadian credential: 10 points
    • One Canadian credential: 5 points
  • 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:
    • Bilingual in 2 official languages: 10 points
    • Proficient in 1 official language: 5 points
  • 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
    • Credential completed online without in-person classes: 0 points.

The maximum possible score is 75. Now, let’s turn our attention to the Ph.D. Graduates Stream. However, we’ll later show you a comparison table.

Ph.D. Graduates Stream Requirements

The following list shows the requirements for the Ph.D. Graduates Stream criteria. While it gives you an idea about the difference between this program and the Master’s Graduates Stream, I’ll later compare them in a concise table.

  • Invitation to Apply: You must have received an invitation and apply by the deadline.
  • Education: Must have completed a Ph.D. from an eligible Ontario university, with at least two years of study in Ontario.
  • Scholarship Commitments: Must not have scholarships requiring a return to home country after graduation unless fulfilled.
  • Ontario Residency: Must have lived in Ontario legally for at least one year in the past two years.
  • Settlement Funds: Must show sufficient funds to support self and dependents through bank statements, Ontario employment, or job offers.
  • Intention to Live in Ontario: Must prove intent to reside in Ontario through work, education, property ownership, or personal ties.
  • Legal Status in Canada: If applying from within Canada, must have legal status and maintain it until nomination; ‘implied status’ is acceptable.
  • Application Period: Must apply within two years of completing Ph.D. requirements, as evidenced by the degree date or official university letter.

Scoring System for Ph.D. Graduates Stream

The scoring system for the Ph.D. Graduates Stream has many similarities with the Master’s Graduates Stream. However, it is better to list it properly here.

  • Work or Study Permit Status:
    • With a valid work or study permit: 10 points
    • Without a valid work or study permit: 0 points
  • Earnings History (Based on Canada Revenue Agency Notice of Assessment in the last five years):
    • $40k or more earnings in a year: 3 points
    • Less than $40k earnings in a year: 0 points
  • Highest Level of Education (Canadian credential or Educational Credential Assessment required):
    • Ph.D.: 10 points
    • Master’s: 8 points
    • Bachelor’s or equivalent: 6 points
    • College diploma or trade certificate: 5 points
    • Less than college or trade certificate: 0 points
  • Field of Study (Canadian credential required):
    • STEM/Health and Trades: 12 points
    • Business, administration, and related fields: 6 points
    • Arts and humanities, other programs not elsewhere classified: 0 points
  • Canadian Education Experience (Credential from a Canadian public institution):
    • More than one Canadian credential: 10 points
    • One Canadian credential: 5 points
  • 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:
    • Bilingual in 2 official languages: 10 points
    • Proficient in 1 official language: 5 points
  • 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
    • Credential completed online without in-person classes: 0 points.

The maximum potential score is 75.

Regionalization Scoring for Graduate Streams

For the Regionalization scoring factors within the Ph.D. and Master’s Graduate Streams, the regions of Ontario are as follows. Of course, you may expand this to other OINP options. However, the definitions are not necessarily the same for different applications.

  • Northern Ontario: This region encompasses the following Census Divisions: Muskoka, Haliburton, Nipissing, Parry Sound, Manitoulin, Sudbury, Greater Sudbury/Grand Sudbury, Timiskaming, Cochrane, Algoma, Thunder Bay, Rainy River, and Kenora.
  • Other Areas Outside of Toronto and the GTA: This category includes all Ontario regions not listed as part of Toronto, the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), or Northern Ontario.
  • Greater Toronto Area (GTA) Excluding Toronto: This region includes the regional municipalities of Durham, Halton, Peel, and York.
  • Toronto: This region is comprised solely of the City of Toronto.

Applicants to the Ph.D. and Master’s Graduate Streams are awarded points based on the location of their studies within these regions, reflecting the Ontario Provincial Nominee Program’s (OINP) focus on encouraging immigration to different parts of the province.

Do I need to attend classes physically?

I contacted OINP and raised this question. This is their answer. Consequently, the answer for most applicants is yes for regionalization points.

Thank you for your correspondence to the Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program (OINP).

As indicated on the OINP website, points for the Regionalization of Immigration: Location of Study Expression of Interest factor should only be claimed if you physically attended classes. If you were unable to physically attend classes due to Covid-19 related restrictions, you should indicate in your EOI where you would have been physically attending school were it not for the Covid 19 outbreak. Note that if invited to apply, you must provide proof (e.g., a letter from your institution, printout from the institution website, etc.) demonstrating you were unable to physically attend classes. This submission will be considered by the processing officer when assessing your EOI points.

Thank you for your interest in the OINP.

Sincerely,

List of eligible universities

The following table shows the list of eligible universities for the Master’s and Ph.D. Graduate Streams.

University NameOffers Eligible Master’sOffers Eligible Ph.D.
Algoma University✔️
Brescia University College (Affiliated with UWO)✔️
Brock University✔️✔️
Carleton University✔️✔️
Dominican University College✔️✔️
Huron University College (Affiliated with UWO)✔️
King’s University College at UWO✔️
Lakehead University✔️✔️
Laurentian University✔️✔️
McMaster University✔️✔️
Nipissing University✔️✔️
Ontario College of Art & Design University (OCAD)✔️
Queen’s University✔️✔️
Royal Military College of Canada✔️✔️
Toronto Metropolitan University (formerly Ryerson)✔️✔️
Saint Paul University (Federated with U of O)✔️✔️
St. Jerome’s University (Federated with U of Waterloo)✔️✔️
Trent University✔️✔️
University of Guelph✔️✔️
University of Ontario Institute of Technology✔️✔️
University of Ottawa✔️✔️
University of St. Michael’s College (Federated with U of T)✔️✔️
University of Toronto✔️✔️
University of Trinity College (Federated with U of T)✔️✔️
University of Waterloo✔️✔️
University of Windsor✔️✔️
Victoria University (Federated with U of T)✔️✔️
Western University✔️✔️
Wilfrid Laurier University✔️✔️
York University✔️✔️

✔️ indicates that the university offers eligible programs for the respective graduate stream.

Comparing similarities and differences between the Master’s Graduate Stream and the Ph.D. Graduate Stream

The following table helps you compare these two options. Moreover, remember that, unlike the International Student Stream, you do not need a job offer.

Master’s Graduate StreamPh.D. Graduates Stream
Invitation to ApplyWithin the deadline after the invitationWithin the deadline after the invitation
Education RequirementCompleted master’s degreeCompleted Ph.D. degree
Ontario ResidencyAt least one year in the past two yearsAt least one year in the past 2 years
Language ProficiencyCLB level 7 or higherCLB level 7 or higher
Settlement FundsSufficient funds or incomeSufficient funds or income
Intention to Live in OntarioMust show intentMust prove intent
Legal Status in CanadaLegal status until the nominationLegal status until the nomination
Application PeriodWithin two years of graduationWithin two years of graduation

As you can see, these two options are almost identical. However, one is for Ph.D. graduates, and the other is for Master’s graduates. Typically, OINP runs more rounds of invitations for the Master’s Graduate Stream. Nonetheless, the number of applicants is higher than that of the Ph.D. Graduate Stream. Moreover, the score for the Ph.D. stream is usually lower. Here are some examples of the past invitations. Of course, the past invitations do not represent the future invitations.

Invitation DateMaster’s Lowest Score/No. of ITAPh.D. Lowest Score/No. of ITA
Mar 19, 202452/1,37042/104
January 24, 202450/1,34445/125
October 30, 20234342
September 19, 20234140
August 30, 202344No invitations
August 1, 20234839
June 6, 20234642
April 4, 20235248

You may also like to know that OINP invited 1,480 candidates under the Master’s Graduate Stream in 2022 and 5,734 in 2023. However, they only invited 303 people under the Ph.D. Graduate Stream in 2022 and 486 in 2023.

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    Al Parsai

    This article has been expertly crafted by Al Parsai, a distinguished Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant (L3 RCIC-IRB – Unrestricted Practice) hailing from vibrant Toronto, Canada. Al's academic achievements include an esteemed role as an adjunct professor at prestigious Queen's University Law School and Ashton College, as well as a Master of Laws (LLM) degree from York University. A respected member of CICC and CAPIC organizations, Al's insights are further enriched by his experience as the dynamic CEO of Parsai Immigration Services. Guiding thousands of applicants from over 55 countries through the immigration process since 2011, Al's articles offer a wealth of invaluable knowledge for readers.