Ontario pauses residency pathway for students

The Canadian province of Ontario has temporarily closed a programme that gave international students a pathway to permanent residence in the country.

The provincial government announced last week that it will temporarily be closing the provincial nominee program (PNP) for masters and doctoral graduates who earn their credentials from an Ontario university.

The programme, which aims to attract highly skilled and educated immigrants to the province by promising a streamlined, faster process to become a permanent resident in Canada, has been placed on hold in a bid to address a backlog of thousands of people who have applied for residency through the programme.

Since 2007, approximately 40 per cent of the province’s 5,000 PNP entrants held a master’s or doctoral degree from an Ontario university, and could therefore expect to become permanent residents within a year.

This year, the province greatly increased the number of spots available, but it was flooded with applications and is now working its way through 7,000 applicants. About half are estimated to be recent graduates, a source from the Ministry of Citizenship, Immigration and International Trade said.

As a result, wait times for processing have increased, along with uncertainty.

The government is hoping that the backlog is expected to be whittled down enough to accept applications again by November.

Article by David Fuller