Ontario conducted its first Tech Draw on July 12, inviting 1,623 Express Entry candidates with eligible work experience to apply for a provincial nomination for Canadian permanent residence.

Those invited in the July 12 draw had Express Entry Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) scores ranging from 439 to 459 and created their Express Entry profiles between July 12, 2018, to July 12, 2019.

The Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program (OINP) announced earlier this month that it would begin holding Tech Draws to meet the growing labour needs of the province’s tech sector.

Ontario is home to several of Canada’s major tech hubs, notably those in the cities of Toronto, Ottawa and Waterloo.

Tech companies in Toronto alone created more tech jobs than the San Francisco Bay area in 2017, according to the CBRE Group.

First step: Get in the Express Entry pool

In order to be considered for a Tech Draw invitation, candidates must have an eligible profile registered under the Federal Skilled Worker Class or Canadian Experience Class, both of which are managed by the federal Express Entry system.

All candidates in the Express Entry pool are assigned a score under the CRS that is based on factors such as age, education, skilled work experience and proficiency in English or French.

A provincial nomination results in an additional 600 CRS points, effectively guaranteeing an invitation to apply for Canadian permanent residence in a subsequent draw from the Express Entry pool.

Find out if you are eligible to enter the Express Entry pool

Express Entry draws have seen the minimum score required to receive an invitation range from 438 to 470 this year, with scores in the 450s being most common.

Only once this year have Federal Skilled Worker Class and Canadian Experience Class candidates with CRS scores of 439 made the cut-off in an Express Entry draw.

How Tech Draws work

OINP Tech Draws are conducted through the province’s Human Capital Priorities immigration stream, which allows the OINP to search the federal Express Entry pool for candidates who meet the stream’s eligibility requirements.

A job offer is not required in order to be eligible for the Human Capital Priorities Stream.

Tech Draws search specifically for Express Entry candidates who meet the Human Capital Priorities Stream’s eligibility requirements and have at least one year of continuous paid full-time work experience (or the equivalent in paid part-time work) in one of the following six tech occupations:

  • Software engineers and designers (NOC 2173)
  • Computer programmers and interactive media developers (NOC 2174)
  • Computer engineers (NOC 2147)
  • Web designers and developers (NOC 2175)
  • Database analysts and data administrators (NOC 2172)
  • Computer and information systems managers (NOC 0213)

NOC stands for National Occupational Classification, which determines an occupation’s skill level and skill type.

Here is a hypothetical example of an Express Entry candidate who could have been selected in the OINP’s July 12 Tech Draw.

Anika and Shaan are married and are 29 and 35 years old, respectively. They each hold bachelor’s degrees and have been working as software engineers for more than four years. They also each wrote the IELTS and scored an 8 in each category. Neither Anika nor Shaan have ever worked or studied in Canada. They entered the Express Entry pool with Anika as the principal applicant and a CRS score of 440. On July 12, the province of Ontario issued a notification of interest to Anika and she can now begin pursuing a nomination from the province of Ontario.

With the 600 CRS points that come with a provincial nomination, Anika’s Express Entry score will become 1040 and she will be prioritized for an invitation to apply for Canadian permanent residence in a subsequent Express Entry draw.

“This first tech draw is a welcome opportunity for eligible Express Entry candidates who haven’t met the cut-off scores in recent federal draws,” said David Cohen, senior partner with the Campbell, Cohen Canadian immigration law firm in Montreal.

“It’s a great reminder of both the value of a provincial nomination for Express Entry candidates and Canada’s pressing need for foreign tech talent.”

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