The Ontario PhD Graduate stream gives international students, who have graduated from a PhD program at an eligible university in Ontario, the opportunity to immigrate permanently to Ontario without the requirement of a job offer.

Applicants who are successfully nominated under the Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program (OINP’s) PhD Graduate Stream may apply to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) for Canadian permanent resident status.

Eligible PhD graduates do not need a job offer to apply.

Eligibility Requirements

In order to be eligible for the OINP PhD Graduate Stream, individuals must:

  • Have completed all the necessary requirements to obtain a PhD degree from an eligible Ontario university with at least two years of the degree requirements completed while lawfully living and studying in Ontario;
  • Have been legally residing in Ontario for at least 12 of the last 24 months before the application submission date;
    • The applicant will be required to provide documentation with his or her full name and address in Ontario to prove that this requirement is met. For example, phone bill, car insurance, hydro/energy bill, leasing document, etc.
  • Possess sufficient funds and/or income to cover the settlement costs for themselves and their dependent family members (whether or not the family members are accompanying the applicant or not). Potential applicants can determine the settlement funds required based on family size. The amount is updated annually by the federal government.
    • Dependent family members include: Spouse or common-law-partner, children under the age of 22 and their children.
  • Submit the application within two years of the date on which the PhD was granted;
  • Intend to live and work in Ontario; and
  • Have legal status (i.e. study permit, work permit, visitor record) if living in Canada at the time of the application.
    •  The OINP accepts applications from potential applicants who are on implied status at the time of applying.

Settlement Funds 

Potential applicants to the OINP PhD Graduate Stream can demonstrate they have sufficient funds to economically establish themselves in Canada through one or a combination of the following:

  • Funds as demonstrated by the balance listed in bank statements, or statements of accounts showing other investments such as non-locked in, fixed term deposits, mutual funds, etc;
  • Annual earnings from ongoing employment in Ontario; and/or
  • A job offer in Ontario.

If an applicant uses employment or a job offer in Ontario to meet the settlement funds requirement, he or she must include an employment contract/job offer letter indicating the position, hours of work, and wage. If currently working in Ontario, the applicant must provide two (most) recent pay slips as proof of funds.

Ties to Ontario

While potential applicants to the PhD Graduate Stream do not need to be residing in the province at the time of applying, all applicants must intend to reside in Ontario.

Potential PhD Graduate Stream applicants can demonstrate a connection to Ontario by listing his or her ties to the province, which can include:

  • Current and/or previous employment in Ontario;
  • Job offers or jobs applied/interviewed for in Ontario;
  • Education in Ontario;
  • Volunteer work in Ontario;
  • Lease agreements for a residence in Ontario or property ownership;
  • Professional networks and affiliations;
  • Family ties;
  • Social connections or personal relationships; and/or
  • Previous visits to Ontario.

Application Period

An applicant’s degree must be dated within two years of the OINP application submission date. For example, if the degree is dated June 1, 2017, the eligible graduate must apply before June 1, 2019. If the degree has not yet been granted, the applicant can use the date indicated on an official letter from the academic institution indicating when the degree will be granted.