Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program (OINP) Goes Live
The new online portal developed by the Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program (OINP) goes live within the next couple of days, and its smooth functionality was demonstrated this past Friday, January 20, 2017, at the OINP headquarters at 400 University Avenue in Toronto. For the time being, only submissions of applications in the French-speaking stream will be allowed online; however, other streams are now in the beta-testing phase and will follow shortly. While there has been no formal date announced, it has been implied that March is the next milestone, when, it is hinted, the program will resume application intake for its 2017-allocated quota; unless, of course, a major development or production issue occurs, something that happens regularly in the IT industry — we all know how frustrating an Error 404 displayed on your monitor can be when you are trying to do something online!
Once re-opened, the program will no longer accept paper applications — everything will be done through the online portal, much like the Federal MyCIC (for the general public) or AR (for authorized representatives) system.
As much as it resembles and serves the same purpose as the MyCIC/AR portal in the IRCC system, it appears the OINP system has better functionality and is more user-friendly.
The main positive feature is that it offers applicants who retain immigration representatives two ways to review their application before it is submitted — by way of additional access with their own PIN and via the “Print” button, which generates all the input information in one form that is easy to print or save in PDF format. It also allows representatives to see a list of all the applicants and the status of each application on the same page. Each page, once completed, saves automatically, with no need to hit a “Save” button — also prominently displayed at the bottom of the page. It functions in real time — Ontario is in the EST time zone. A designated e-mail address will be provided for queries, and a reference base in the FAQ section that will follow shortly will be constantly updated with repeated questions.
The system, at its back end, automates some otherwise manpower-consuming tasks and consequently should significantly decrease overall OINP processing times, which lately have ballooned to ~9 months (EE stream). The servers are located in Ontario, ensuring security and fast access; all development and production is done by in-house IT professionals.
Overall, from what was seen during the demo session, the system has all the necessary features, should work smoothly and should have fewer malfunctions than the EE portals. The challenge, however, remains in the necessity to manually re-enter most of the information that has already been inputted into the IRCC EE system due to the peculiarities of intergovernmental information-sharing agreements, different system designs and jurisdiction. This means that one has to know what they are doing online, take utmost care and pay greatly increased attention throughout the process, since the slightest discrepancy in the information provided through both systems could potentially lead to a misrepresentation charge that would effectively mean a 5-year bar from Canada. And faster processing in this case provides no consolation.