Ontario temporarily halts the residence program for international students


Ontario province has temporarily put a halt on the residence program through which international students who earned their credentials from an Ontario University can apply for the permanent residence status in Canada through its provincial nominee program.  This comes following a backlog of thousands of applications under the Express Entry program.

The residence program was majorly attracting highly skilled and qualified immigrants through the faster processing of becoming a Canadian permanent resident. Since the inception of this program, around 40% of immigrants in Ontario are accepted through this residence program only. This year as well, increased number of applications is expected even though the application cap was increased. Following which the waiting period for the acceptance of application has also increased. Ontario has basically stopped accepting new applications under Employer Pre-Screen, International Student – Masters Graduate Stream and International Student – PhD Graduate Stream with effect from May 9th 2016. Applications received after May 9th 2016, shall be returned to the applicant along with their unprocessed payment.

Though some of the recent graduates are finding it difficult to be approved for the permanent residence status, around quarter of the 31,000 applications accepted under the Express Entry program were offered to the applicants who had some experience of studying in Canada. Ontario is known for its flexibility compared to other provinces while students with a master’s degree in any field are eligible to apply for the permanent residence status under its provincial nominee program. For the time being, international students with job offer stream of the Ontario provincial nominee program are eligible for the process whose job offer has been approved by the Employer Pre-Screen application process.

Ontario isn’t the first province to temporarily halt its immigration streams. Earlier, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Nova Scotia and British Columbia had also halted their certain immigration programs and reopened the same during the later date. Similarly, Ontario province also claims to the reopen the stream as soon as the backlog is whittled down. With such a temporary halt, individuals who are already in the express entry pool have better prospect of receiving invitation to apply and later applying for the permanent residence status.