2022-11-21T09:05:05-05:00Nov 9, 2022|

How National Occupational Classification (NOC) changes impact Express Entry applicants

Recently, the government rolled out changes to the National Occupational Classification (NOC) system, which impacts how your work experience needs to be listed in your Express Entry profile and also the eligibility of some permanent residence (PR) applicants. Changes to the eligibility criteria or the way your information needs to be entered can make the application process for Canadian immigration more confusing and stressful. 

In this article, we talk about how the NOC changes impact Express Entry applicants waiting for an Invitation to Apply (ITA) for permanent residence (PR) and newcomers planning to apply to immigration programs in Canada.

In this article:

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What is NOC? How does the NOC system work?

NOC stands for National Occupational Classification. In Canada, the NOC system is used to classify occupations based on job duties, the type of work involved, and the skill level required. 

The National Occupational Classification system is managed by Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) and Statistics Canada. Over 30,000 occupational titles are categorized under the NOC system, and the classification is revised every 10 years after an analysis of current occupations in the Canadian job market.

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) uses the NOC system to determine which occupations are eligible for various immigration programs, including Express Entry.

NOC 2016, the previous version of the classification system, categorizes jobs based on occupational category or skill (or the work performed, such as health occupations or sales and service occupations) and skill level (or the level of education or training required to perform the job.) The first digit of the NOC code indicates the broad occupational category, and the second digit denotes the skill level of the job.

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What changes are being made under NOC 2021?

On November 16, 2022, the NOC 2016 is being replaced by the NOC 2021. NOC 2021 will introduce new terminology and a revised classification structure for occupations. Here are the three significant changes being made under NOC 2021:

  1. Unlike NOC 2016, NOC 2021 accounts for the differences between educational requirements and formal training, and consequently, the new classification reflects the knowledge and skills gained through on-the-job work experience.
  2. Under NOC 2016, jobs were classified under a four-category “Skill Level” structure, NOC A, B, C, and D. NOC 2021 replaces this with six TEER levels, from TEER 0 to 5. TEER levels represent the Training, Education, Experience, and Responsibilities for each occupation, with TEER 0 having the highest requirements and TEER 5 the lowest. The table below describes TEER levels and explains how they differ from Skill Levels under NOC 2016:
TEER  Requirements How it differs from NOC 2016 Skill Levels
TEER 0 Management Management was classified as Skill Type 0.
TEER 1 University degree (bachelor’s, master’s or doctorate); OR

Previous experience and subject matter expertise in a related TEER 2 occupation.

Skill Level A required a university degree but did not account for prior experience or expertise in related occupations.
TEER 2 Completion of a two- to three-year post-secondary program (diploma or certificate) at community college, institute of technology or CÉGEP; OR

Completion of a two- to five-year apprenticeship training program; OR

Occupations with supervisory or safety responsibilities (e.g. police officers and firefighters); OR

Several years of experience in a related TEER 3 occupation.

The requirements under Skill Level B have been split into TEER 2 and 3.

The TEER levels also account for prior experience in related occupations, which was not considered eligible under Skill Level B.

TEER 3 Completion of a post-secondary college program shorter than two years (diploma or certificate); OR

Completion of an apprenticeship training program of under two years; OR

Over six months of on-the-job training, training courses or specific experience in addition to some secondary (school) education; OR

Several years of experience in a related TEER 4 occupation.

The requirements under Skill Level B have been split into TEER 2 and 3.

The TEER levels also account for prior experience in related occupations, which was not considered eligible under Skill Level B.

TEER 4 Completion of secondary school; OR

Several weeks of on-the-job training with some secondary education; OR

Experience in a related TEER 5 occupation.

Skill Level C included up to two years of on-the-job training with some secondary education, whereas under TEER 4, several weeks of on-the-job training is accepted.

TEER 4 also accounts for prior experience in related occupations.

TEER 5 Short work demonstration and no formal educational requirements. Similar to Skill Level D.

3. Under NOC 2016, occupations were categorized with a four-digit code, which will change to a five-digit coding system under NOC 2021. Let’s use Advertising, marketing and public relations managers as an example to explain the NOC classification hierarchy. Under NOC 2016 its code was 0124; under NOC 2021 its code is 10022. Here we breakdown the differences between the two codes for Advertising, marketing and public relations managers:

Level  Details Under NOC 2021 (10022) Under NOC 2016 (0124)
Broad occupational category (first digit of code) Business, finance and administration occupations (1) 1 0 (Management occupations)
Major group (TEER or Skill Level) (second digit of code) TEER 0 – Management (0) 10 01 (Skill level A)
Sub-major group Specialized middle management occupations in administrative services, financial and business services and communication except broadcasting (0) 100 N/A
Minor group Managers in financial and business services (2) 1002 012 (Managers in financial and business services)
Unit group (or occupation) Advertising, marketing and public relations managers (2) 10022 0124

How will NOC changes affect Express Entry candidates? 

Changes to the NOC system will impact newcomers who are in the Express Entry pool but haven’t received an Invitation to Apply (ITA) as well as those planning to apply to Canadian immigration programs. 

Note Icon  Note
If you’ve already received an ITA before November 16, 2022, you won’t be impacted by NOC changes and should continue your permanent residence (PR) application using NOC 2016 codes.

The changes to NOC classification are primarily structural, and immigration applicants in most occupations are not expected to be adversely affected. That said, Express Entry applicants may still be impacted in two ways:

Using NOC 2021 codes in your Express Entry profile

When you create an Express Entry profile, you’re required to provide the NOC codes of your previous jobs. With the switch to NOC 2021, the classification of occupations will change and going forward, candidates will need to provide their updated NOC 2021 codes. If you already have an active Express Entry profile (but have not received an ITA), you must update your profile to reflect the new NOC codes for your prior jobs.

Changes in occupational eligibility for Express Entry

Only certain skill levels (now TEER levels) are eligible for specific immigration programs. Previously, eligibility for Express Entry programs required at least NOC Skill Level B or above. With NOC 2021, the eligibility cut-off for Express Entry will become TEER 3. This will result in 16 new occupations becoming eligible and three becoming ineligible.

Tips Icon  Tip:
Read our article to learn more about the eligibility criteria and application process for Express Entry.

How to find your new National Occupational Classification code and TEER level

While the changes to the NOC codes may seem complicated, it’s actually quite simple to determine which code applies to you. You can find your new NOC code in the NOC 2021 list on the Government of Canada website. Be sure to select NOC 2021 Version 1.0 and search by job title to get your new NOC.

If you already have an Express Entry profile and know your NOC 2016 code, you can use the Statistics Canada Correspondence Table to convert it to the NOC 2021 code. Enter your NOC 2016 code into the “filter items” search bar and find your NOC 2021 V1.0 code.

Once you identify your NOC 2021 code, the TEER level will be the second digit of that code. When searching for your NOC 2021 code, you’ll find a breakdown summary for your unit group (or occupation), which lists your occupational category and TEER level.

Tips Icon  Tip:
The TEER level for your occupation may not necessarily be in line with your education and experience level. Job market requirements for different industries may vary in your country, and your occupation may typically require a different level of education or experience in Canada.

Do I need to update the NOC codes in my existing Express Entry profile?

Candidates with existing Express Entry profiles who haven’t yet received an ITA must update their profiles with new NOC information on or after November 16, 2022. If you are creating an Express Entry profile after November 16, 2022, you must use the new NOC 2021 classification system.

However, if you’ve already received an ITA, you should continue your application using NOC 2016 codes. This means that while filling out your PR application, you should use NOC 2016 codes for your past experience.

How to update NOC codes on your Express Entry profile

While your Express Entry profile is active, it is your responsibility to keep it up-to-date and ensure all the information provided is accurate. This applies not just to NOC codes but also changes to your personal situation such as your finances, employment status, additions to your family, and more. Here’s a step-wise guide to help you update your Express Entry profile:

  1. Sign in to your IRCC account. 
  2. On the main page, go to the “View the applications you submitted” section and click “Check full application status”. 
  3. On the Express Entry profile status page, click “View your profile”. This will take you to your active profile.
  4. Click “Update form” in front of the work experience section (or the section you want to change) and update your NOC codes.
Note Icon  Note
You cannot edit your Express Entry profile if you’ve already been declared ineligible. You’ll still be able to view the profile you submitted, but instead of “Update form”, you’ll only see an option to “View form”.

Additional occupations eligible for Express Entry under NOC 2021 

Previously, the eligibility cut-off for Express Entry was Skill Level B, but with the roll-out of NOC 2021, the minimum requirement has changed to TEER 3. In addition, the educational and experience requirements for certain occupations under TEER 2 and 3 have changed, resulting in 16 new occupations becoming eligible for the Federal Skilled Worker (FSW) and Canadian Experience Class (CEC) Express Entry programs. These newly eligible occupations include:

  • Payroll administrators (NOC 13102, previously NOC 1432)
  • Dental assistants and dental laboratory assistants (NOC 33100, previously NOC 4311)
  • Nurse aides, orderlies and patient service associates (NOC 33102, previously NOC 3413)
  • Pharmacy technical assistants and pharmacy assistants (NOC 33103, previously NOC 3219)
  • Elementary and secondary school teacher assistants (NOC 43100, previously NOC 4413)
  • Sheriffs and bailiffs (NOC 43200, previously NOC 4421)
  • Correctional service officers (NOC 43201, previously NOC 4422)
  • By-law enforcement and other regulatory officers (NOC 43202, previously NOC 4423)
  • Estheticians, electrologists and related occupations (NOC 63211, previously NOC 6562)
  • Residential and commercial installers and servicers (NOC 73200, previously NOC 7441)
  • Pest controllers and fumigators (NOC 73202, previously NOC 7444)
  • Other repairers and servicers (NOC 73209, previously NOC 7445)
  • Transport truck drivers (NOC 73300, previously NOC 7511)
  • Bus drivers, subway operators and other transit operators (NOC 73301, previously NOC 7512)
  • Heavy equipment operators (NOC 73400, previously NOC 7521)
  • Aircraft assemblers and aircraft assembly inspectors (NOC 93200, previously NOC 9521) 

Occupations becoming ineligible for Express Entry under NOC 2021

As of November 16, 2022, three occupations will become ineligible for Express Entry:

  • Other performers (NOC 55109, previously NOC 5232)
  • Program leaders and instructors in recreation, sport and fitness (NOC 54100, previously NOC 5254)
  • Tailors, dressmakers, furriers and milliners (NOC 64200, previously NOC 6342). 

However, these occupations will remain eligible under some Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) streams, so if you’re in one of these professions, you may still qualify for immigration to Canada.

How NOC changes impact Atlantic Immigration Program (AIP) applicants

The Atlantic Immigration Program (AIP) is a federal program that allows newcomers to move to one of Canada’s Atlantic provinces—Nova Scotia, New Brunswick (NB), Prince Edward Island (PEI), or Newfoundland and Labrador (NL)—and get permanent residence.

AIP was previously open to applicants with experience in jobs that require Skill Level C or above. Under NOC 2021, the eligibility cut-off will change to TEER 4. Due to this change, the following 12 occupations will no longer be eligible for AIP:

  • Pet groomers and animal care workers (NOC 65220, previously NOC 6563)
  • Other support occupations in personal services (NOC 65229, previously NOC 6564)
  • Longshore workers (NOC 75100, previously NOC 7451)
  • Material handlers (NOC 75101, previously NOC 7452)
  • Taxi and limousine drivers and chauffeurs (NOC 75200, previously NOC 7513)
  • Delivery service drivers and door-to-door distributors (NOC 75201, previously NOC 7514)
  • Boat and cable ferry operators and related occupations (NOC 75210, previously NOC 7533)
  • Livestock labourers (NOC 85100, previously NOC 8431)
  • Nursery and greenhouse labourers (NOC 85103, previously NOC 8432)
  • Trappers and hunters (NOC 85104, previously NOC 8442)
  • Food and beverage servers (NOC 65200, previously NOC 6513)
  • Labourers in textile processing and cutting (NOC 95105, previously NOC 9616). 

If you’re in the process of applying for PR or are already in the Express Entry pool, you may be worried about how changes to the NOC system will impact your eligibility. However, the changes are primarily limited to terminology and classification and, for the vast majority of applicants, there will be no impact on your chances of qualifying for PR. If you’re in an occupation that has become ineligible under Express Entry or AIP, don’t worry. You may still be able to qualify under a different immigration program and move to Canada.