Candidates in the Express Entry pool for immigration to Canada with work experience in the Information and Communications Technology Sector (ICT) are being prioritized for immigration by the province of Ontario, under a new strategy implemented for the week beginning June 26.
The update to the Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program (OINP) concerns the Human Capital Priorities (HCP) Stream, which is aligned with the federal Express Entry immigration selection system.
Whereas until this point Ontario searched the Express Entry pool and issued Notifications of Interest (NOIs) to candidates with at least 400 Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) points, the new strategy also allows the government of Ontario to issue NOIs to candidates who meet all other HCP Stream criteria and who have indicated work experience in a specific target occupation identified by the OINP.
Essentially, it is now possible for ICT workers to be issued a NOI by the OINP under the HCP, even if they have a CRS score below 400.
This measure allows the program to respond to labour market needs and economic developments.
At the time of writing, the OINP has not released a defined list of target ICT occupations.
According to a 2016 report published by the Information and Communications Technology Council (ICTC), a publicly-funded non-for-profit think tank, it is projected that Canada needs 182,000 new ICT workers by 2019, with more needed in Ontario than in any other province.
Ontario is a magnet for ICT workers and corporations alike, who are attracted by the opportunities in cities such as Toronto, Waterloo, and Hamilton, among others. Ontario is Canada’s ICT leader, contributing $31.6 billion to the total Canadian ICT output in 2015 alone.
Notably, about 25 percent of Ontario’s provincial nominees in 2016 were ICT workers. The province’s Minister of Immigration, Laura Albanese, recently disclosed at an immigration law conference in Toronto that the HCP Stream has invited candidates across more than 250 occupations, including ICT occupations.
It should be noted that the OINP will continue regular searches of the Express Entry pool for candidates eligible for the HCP Stream who do not necessarily have ICT work experience. These candidates will have to satisfy the requirement to have at least 400 CRS points in the Express Entry pool.
To be eligible under the HCP Stream, candidates must:
*Certain ICT workers are exempt from this requirement for the week beginning June 26.