Canada




Canada’s immigration and work permit programs will begin using the new National Occupational Classification (NOC) system from today.

It means applicants to all programs – including federal, provincial and work permit – need to enter a different code to classify their occupation.

Candidates who applied before November 16 need not worry as their applications will be assessed under the previous NOC 2016, instead of the new NOC 2021.

Those with a profile in the Express Entry pool will need to update it with the new code, as the Canadian Experience ClassFederal Skilled WorkerFederal Skilled Trades and Express Entry-linked PNP streams will all use the new system.

The arrival of NOC 2021 also means more occupations will be added to the in-demand jobs list, opening the door to more applicants under these programs.

A ministerial memorandum published in late February shows jobs including truck and bus drivers, orderlies, teaching assistants and dental assistants are to be included under Express Entry.


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16 Jobs Added To In-Demand List Under NOC 2021, Three Occupations Removed

The occupations being added are:

  • Payroll administrators;
  • Dental assistants and dental laboratory assistants;
  • Nurse aides, orderlies and patient service associates;
  • Pharmacy technical assistants and pharmacy assistants;
  • Elementary and secondary school teacher assistants;
  • Sheriffs and bailiffs;
  • Correctional service officers;
  • By-law enforcement and other regulatory officers; 
  • Estheticians, electrologists and related occupations; 
  • Residential and commercial installers and servicers;
  • Pest controllers and fumigators;
  • Other repairers and servicers;
  • Transport truck drivers; 
  • Bus drivers, subway operators and other transit operators;
  • Heavy equipment operators, and;
  • Aircraft assemblers and aircraft assembly inspectors.

Three other occupations that are eligible for Express Entry under NOC 2016, though, are being dropped under the NOC 2021. Those occupations are:

  • Other performers;
  • Program leaders and instructors in recreation, sport and fitness;
  • Tailors, dressmakers, furriers and milliners.

The changeover to NOC 2021 means immigration and work permit applicants will need to search for their occupation under the NOC 2021 list on the Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) Website

With the NOC 2021, the IRCC is moving from its use of a four-digit number to categorize each occupation to a five-digit code.

Within the new five-digit code, the NOC 2021 breaks down the level of skill of each occupation into six categories from the current four to better reflect the level of Training, Education, Experience and Responsibilities, or TEER, of each job.

These TEER categories in the re-jigged NOC replace the previous Skill Levels.


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The new NOC will also rank occupational groups based on five hierarchal levels consisting of: the broad occupation category; major groups; sub-major groups, minor groups; and unit groups.

Foreign nationals looking for their NOC code for a job only need to go to the search page of the NOC website and search using their job title. After selecting the closest match on the list that is generated, it is important to make sure the main duties listed match those of the job.

When those duties don’t match up, users are being advised to use a different job title with duties that more closely match theirs.

Applicants should then note the new numeric code and job title – for example, 72302 Gas fitters – and note the TEER category.

The new NOC was phased in gradually “to provide organizations and programs with enough time to make a proper transition from NOC 2016 to NOC 2021”.

NOC Undergoes Major Revision Every Decade After Consultation Process

A nationally-recognized and standardized system used by IRCC to evaluate the work experience of applicants for immigration, the choice of the right NOC code is one of the most important parts of an application for immigration.

With the overhaul to the NOC, all applications submitted once the new system comes into place will require the applicant to put in the proper – and new – five-digit NOC code.

“Every 10 years, the (NOC) undergoes a major structural revision whereby the existing occupational groups are reviewed alongside input collected from many relevant stakeholders through a consultation process,” stated Statistics Canada on its website.

“The release of the NOC 2021 will be the product of this 10-year cycle and will reflect changes in the economy and the nature of work. Input from the public, and particularly stakeholders, has been a key part of the revision process.”

Every province and territory in Canada use the NOC to identify in-demand jobs that need to be filled by immigration programs.

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