Opportunities Ontario: Provincial Nominee Program for Foreign Workers

Opportunities Ontario Hiring and Training Grants

Although there are benefits to hiring recent Canadian grads, some Ontario employers find difficulty in filling some job positions and may require the assistance of foreign skilled workers. The Ontario government realizes this need and has created the Opportunities Ontario: Provincial Nominee Program to assist small businesses in staffing for these positions. Through this program, the Government of Ontario can aid employers in nominating and immigrating employees from foreign companies, thus filling the human resources void. The Opportunities Ontario program has a target of 5,200 nominations in 2015.

Skilled Worker Nomination Process

Employers who recognize the need to use this government program must first apply for approval in the positions that they wish to fill. If the Ontario government approves the job position, the company has 60 days to recruit staff in foreign markets where they believe they are able to find qualified employees. Recruited individuals will then need to submit a nominee application package to Opportunities Ontario where the government will be able to assess the worker’s eligibility. With a successful application, nominees will then be able to apply for permanent residence and begin their employment.

Employer Criteria for Hiring Foreign Skilled Workers

Ontario employers seeking such incentives for hiring foreign skilled workers must meet the following business criteria:

  • Active in business for a minimum of 3 years;
  • Have a minimum of $1,000,000 in gross revenue for the most recent fiscal year (for companies inside the Greater Toronto Area), or have a minimum of $500,000 in gross revenue (companies outside the GTA);
  • Have a minimum of 5 permanent full-time employees (for companies inside the Greater Toronto Area), or have a minimum of 3 permanent full-time employees (companies outside the GTA); and
  • Have business operations in Ontario where the prospective nominee will work.

Position Criteria for Hiring with Opportunities Ontario

Likewise, the positions that foreign workers fill must comply by specific criteria. Positions to be filled must:

  • Bepermanent, full-time positions;
  • Be in a skilled occupation (NOC 0, A or B);
  • Meet prevailing wage levels; and
  • Be necessary for the company’s operations.

Find Ontario Small Business Hiring and Training Grants

Bringing in foreign talent is a great way to reinforce the strength of your workforce. Funding programs can help your business orient and advance these new employees, as well as support your business’ growth. If your team does not have the skills required to complete complex tasks or is taking on additional responsibilities that required training, programs such as the FedDev Ontario Training Program provide up to 50% in funding support to encourage both in-house and third party training to help manufacturers expand internationally. Additionally, if employees have a skill gap or need training on a new piece of technology, the Canada-Ontario Job Grant will cover up to 66% of third-party training costs.

We see businesses employ foreign skilled workers as a growth tactic. If your foreign hiring initiatives are part of a larger business growth plan, such as a significant product commercialization project, facility expansion/addition, or export expansion plan, there are programs to help with these project activities. The 0% interest FedDev Ontario loan, Investing in Business Growth and Prosperity (IBGP), was created to help Ontario-based businesses expand markets and facilities, increase the adoption of new technologies, and increase capacity to participate in global markets, therefore allowing for the creation of jobs. The Southwestern Ontario Development Fund (SWODF) was also created to support job creation related to large business expansion plans with both small business funding grants and repayable loans. For more information on these and other Canadian government grants and loans, subscribe to our Canadian government funding newsletter or follow us on Twitter.

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