The province of Ontario in Canada has released an update on the impact of COVID-19 pandemic on applications submitted under the main streams – Employer Job Offer, Entrepreneur, and Ontario Express Entry – of the Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program [OINP].
With a decline in COVID-19 cases, the province of Ontario is taking various steps to gradually open its economy. On March 17, 2020, the Government of Ontario had declared an emergency for the containment of COVID-19 and protection of the health and safety of all in Ontario. The Declaration of Emergency, under Section 7.0.1(1) of the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act, was subsequently extended on April and continues to be in effect.
Despite COVID-19 special measures being in place, the OINP continues with the processing of applications as well as the issuing of Notifications of Interest [NOIs] and nominations under the OINP’s Express Entry streams.
In April 2020, the OINP invited 523 immigration candidates to apply for being provincially nominated by Ontario for permanent residence in Canada.
Applicants are advised by the OINP to continue with their submission process, even if they are unable to arrange the needed supporting documents. A detailed explanation letter will have to be included explaining the reasons for failure to submit complete information in situations wherein there is incomplete documentation due to service limitations and obstructions owing to COVID-19.
Candidates applying under the Employer Job Offer category of the OINP will still be required to have a full-time, permanent job offer that has been approved by the OINP.
The Employer Job Offer category includes international students, foreign workers, and in-demand skills candidates.
Applications that have been submitted to the OINP will be assessed following a confirmation of employment.
Employers and applicants will have to promptly inform the OINP if there is any significant change in their application. This includes changes in their employment position that forms the basis of their eligibility for the Employer Job Offer Stream.
The OINP intends contacting all employers for confirmation that the job offers and positions continue to meet the program criteria. Applications are to be processed based on the response given by the employer as to the status of the employment.
Applications will continue to be processed by the OINP if the employers give an indication that there has been no change in the position.
If the employment of an applicant has been affected by factors such as a temporary layoff, reduced hours of work or an extension of the start date, the application will be put on hold by the OINP for 90 days.
If, on the other hand, the position has been eliminated altogether or if the employer has terminated the employment, the applications will be regarded to be incomplete. In such situations, the application fee will be refunded.
Moreover, the OINP has stated that it will continue supporting those immigration candidates that had received provincial nominations but have been impacted by being laid off.
Employers and candidates are asked to inform the OINP of any changes in their approved employment positions.
The conditions of employment – that is, salary, employer, work shift, working area, job titles and duties – must remain the same throughout the period of appointment or till they get Canada permanent residence.
Approval of the employment of the immigration candidate nominated for Canada PR by the OINP will face revocation if the conditions are not met and there is a termination of the employment.
Candidates that have either lost their jobs or have had their job offers withdrawn will have to notify the OINP of the same.
The OINP will continue supporting the nomination of candidates that have had their employment affected by a temporary layoff due to COVID-19, provided the criteria of the program that they are applying under continues to be met.
In cases of a permanent layoff, the OINP provincial nominees will be given 90 days for obtaining support from another employer. They will be given an opportunity for submitting a new application to the OINP.
Applicants that have received an invitation to apply under the Entrepreneur Stream of the OINP will be granted a temporary extension of 90 days. These immigration candidates will be contacted by email regarding the same.
Additionally, applicants have been asked to contact the OINP if a full application has already been submitted by them under the Entrepreneur Stream and they are facing certain difficulties. Such difficulties have been described as – temporary suspension, closures or major changes in business activities, temporarily being unable to meet employer or hiring requirements, or delays in obtaining information pertaining to the follow-up of an application.
As per the May 11 PNP update by the OINP, “No application will be denied, and no approvals will be cancelled without notifying the applicant and employer.”
Responses to such notices will be reviewed by the OINP before a final decision is reached.
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Posted on May 13, 2020