Ontario PhD Graduate Stream

Ontario PhD Graduate Stream

October 19, 2019

About the Ph.D. Graduate Stream

The Ph.D. Graduate Stream which is under the Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program (OINP) reopened on January 29, which allows international students graduating from a qualifying university in Ontario have a chance to immigrate.

An update posted on the Government of Ontario page says the OINP is monitoring the intake of applications with respect to the limits of Ontario’s 2018 federal nomination allocation. This year the province’s overall allocation is 6,600 new nominations, an increase of 600 over 2017.

This stream is not aligned with Express Entry, which means that candidates cannot take advantage of the 6-month average processing times of Express Entry. Processing times of Provincial Nominee Programs (not aligned with Express Entry) are usually longer and take at least 1 year.

No job offer required

A key appeal of both the Ph.D. Graduate Stream and Masters Graduate Streams is the fact applicants do not need a job offer in order to apply. Furthermore, applicants to both streams do not have to be currently living in Canada.

Successful applicants receive a provincial appointment certificate’ base’ and can then apply to the federal government for permanent residence. The word “base” applies to immigration sources that do not fit into the federal express entry system but still contribute to the status of permanent Canadian citizens.

Immigration authorities in Ontario inform interested applicants that applications to OINP streams can only be made via the OINP e-Filing Portal.

Further warnings from the province encourage applicants to review the program application guides before applying for any possible changes to criteria and processing procedures as a result of the Ontario Immigration Act, which came into effect on January 1, 2018.

Mandatory requirements

You can apply to the Ph.D. Graduate Stream if you meet all the criteria in the six categories below. You don’t need a job offer to apply.

1. Education

You must fulfill the requirements to gain a Ph.D. degree which is issued from an eligible university in Ontario (see the list of eligible Ontario universities offering Ph.D. degrees below).

At least two years of your Ph.D. studies must have been completed while legally living and studying in Ontario.

You don’t qualify if you have received a bursary, grant or scholarship that requires you return to your home country after you earn your Ph.D. degree. You may only apply after you have fulfilled those commitments and can demonstrate an intention to live in Ontario.

2. Residency in Ontario

You must have legally lived in Ontario for at least one year in the past two years before you apply.

3. Settlement funds

You must have enough money to support yourself and your dependent family members when you settle in Canada.

You can meet this requirement through one or a combination of any 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
  • job offer in Ontario
4. Intention to live in Ontario

You must intend to live and work in Ontario after you’re granted permanent residence. The government determined this by examining your ties to Ontario, which can include doing things like:

  • working or have worked in Ontario
  • getting job offers, or applying/interviewing for jobs
  • studying
  • volunteering
  • leasing or owning property
  • visiting
  • having professional networks and affiliations, family ties or social or personal relationships
5. Legal status in Canada (if applicable)

If you are applying from within Canada, you must have legal status (a visitor record, study permit, or work permit) at the time you apply and should maintain that status until the time of nomination.

6. Application period

You must submit your application within two years of meeting the necessary requirements for receiving your Ph.D. degree. This means that the date on your degree must be within two years of your OINP application submission date. For example, if your degree is dated June 1, 2017, you must apply to this stream before June 1, 2019.

If you don’t have your degree yet, use the date on the official letter from your university which states when your degree will be granted.

Important: You must have completed your Ph.D. degree before you submit your application.

Who is not eligible to apply for the Ph.D. Graduate Stream?

The following individuals are not eligible to apply under the Ontario Ph.D. Graduate Stream:

  • Individuals who have not yet completed their Ph.D. degree. The OINP will not accept applications from international students who are in their final semester of studies. Applicants must have met all the degree requirements at the time of application.
  • Individuals who completed their Ph.D. degree more than two years ago.
  • Individuals who are the recipient of a grant, bursary, or scholarship that requires them to return to their home country or another jurisdiction (another Canadian province/territory or another country) after the completion of their studies (provided that the obligations have not been fulfilled).
  • Individuals who currently live in Canada without legal status.

Application Process

Before Applying

The OINP usually advises potential applicants to review the eligibility criteria, verify the file list and make sure that the documentation is complete before submitting the application. The OINP may request additional documents from Ph.D. Graduate Stream applicants during the processing of the application. 


Applying for the Ph.D. Graduate Stream online through the OINP’s e-Filing portal may take approximately two hours to complete. 

If the applicant does not complete the registration within 14 days after registration is submitted through an online system of the OINP, the application may expire and get withdraws. OINP requires applicants to submit a request before payment has been made. The claimant will not be able to make any amendments once a request is sent to the OINP.

Applicants are responsible for the translation and notarization of any supporting documents that are not in English or French. It is the responsibility of the applicant to locate a certified translator accredited by the Association of Translators and Interpreters of Ontario (ATIO) and/or obtain notarization of documents translated by a translator not certified by the ATIO.

In cases where a candidate located in Ontario can not find a certified ATIO-accredited translator, a notary must be made for translation. The application must also include a letter explaining the reasonings and efforts to find a certified translator.

The translation must be notarized if the request comes from outside Ontario. If considered to be insufficient, OINP would allow applicants to receive the ATIO-accredited translation of a qualified translator. Even if these individuals are known as qualified translators, translations completed by the applicant, its representative or other persons with personal relations with the applicant will not be admitted. 

After Applying

If the OINP considers an application to be incomplete, individuals looking to apply for the OINP Ph.D. Graduate Stream will be required to resubmit a new application. The OINP may consider an application to be incomplete if inaccurate supporting documents are provided or documents that require translation are not certified or notarized. 

Applicants who claim that the OINP decision was wrong may request to have an internal review of the application received notification of the decision (if residing in Canada) within 30 calendar days of the date of receipt or within 60 calendar days if they are residing in the country. The application may not contain evidence that was not provided to the program prior to the decision unless the evidence at the time of application was not reasonably available. The decision of OINP on internal review is final.

If the application is successful, applicants will be issued a Letter of Nomination (Nomination Approval Letter) and a Confirmation of Nomination (OINP Certificate of Nomination).

Supporting documents

You must provide supporting documents to validate the information in your application and to prove you meet the eligibility criteria. All supporting documents must be scanned and uploaded in your online application. Refer to the document checklist for the Ph.D. Graduate Stream for a list of mandatory documents.

If a supporting document is not in English or French, you must provide a copy of the document and a translation of the document. Please read Document translation and notarization for more information.

Remember if you do not upload all the required documents, your application will be incomplete, and it will be returned.


Your application fee is $1,500 and covers the cost of processing your application. The government only accepts Visa, Visa Debit, MasterCard and MasterCard Debit.


Ontario’s government will only refund the fee if they find that your application is incomplete, or you withdraw your application before they start to process it. Besides, the authority will not refund the fee if your application is unsuccessful.

You can check the status of your application through your account in the OINP e-Filing Portal.

Processing Times

As of July 11, 2019, the processing times for a Ph.D. Graduate stream application are estimated to be between 30 to 60 days. However, some applications may need more time to be processed if more complex or necessitate more documents and/or information.

Eligible Ontario universities offering Ph.D. programs

To qualify for the Ph.D. Graduate Stream, your Ph.D. degree must be from one of the universities listed below:

  • Brock University
  • Carleton University
  • Dominican University College
  • Lakehead University
  • Laurentian University
  • McMaster University
  • Nipissing University
  • Queen’s University
  • Royal Military College of Canada
  • Ryerson University
  • Saint Paul University (Federated with the University of Ottawa)
  • St. Jerome’s University (Federated with the University of Waterloo)
  • Trent University
  • University of Guelph
  • University of Ontario Institute of Technology
  • University of Ottawa
  • University of St. Michael’s College (Federated with the University of Toronto)
  • University of Toronto
  • University of Trinity College (Federated with the University of Toronto)
  • University of Waterloo
  • University of Windsor
  • Victoria University (Federated with the University of Toronto)
  • Western University
  • Wilfrid Laurier University
  • York University



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