New NOC 2021
As of November 16th, 2022, the NOC system made the switch from the previous NOC 2016 to the new current NOC 2021. Among other changes, the NOC 2021 system switched from skill type to TEER categories. All new applications filed after November 16th, will need to use the correct NOC 2021.
The NOC assigns a code, referred to as a NOC code, to every single occupation that exists in the Canadian labour market using the NOC matrix. Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) uses NOC codes to evaluate every immigration applicant’s work experience. Whenever immigration applicants are asked to identify work experience, they must do so by indicating the NOC code that best fits their experience. Some economic immigration streams are even limited to applicants with experience in occupations identified by specific NOC codes. It’s therefore incredibly important that you, as an applicant, understand how NOC codes work.
Choosing the right NOC code is one of the most important parts of your immigration application. If you claim a NOC code that doesn’t actually match your work experience, your application may be refused or returned to you. It’s up to you to make sure that you choose the appropriate NOC code and that you have the documentation to prove it. Every NOC code has an associated job title, lead statement, and list of major duties and responsibilities.
For Canadian immigration purposes, your actual job title is not important in determining your NOC code. Instead, your work experience has to match the lead statement, and you should have performed most of the duties and responsibilities listed. Your work experience might therefore fall under a couple of different NOC codes, or your official job title might be associated with a NOC code that doesn’t actually match your experience.
The NOC organizes occupations by assigning them a Training, Education, Experience and Responsibilities (TEER) category. There are six different TEER categories ranging from TEER 0 to TEER 5. The second digit of your NOC code indicates your TEER category.
NOC codes are broken down as follows:
For immigration purposes, any occupation classified as Skill Level A or B, or in Skill Type 0 (management occupations) is considered high-skilled work. Any occupation classified as Skill Level C or D is considered low-skilled work. Some immigration programs may also refer to semi-skilled work, which includes all occupation classified as NOC Skill Level A, B, or C, or in Skill Type 0.
The easiest way to tell whether your occupation is classified as NOC 0, A, or B is to check the NOC Matrix on the Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) website.
However, NOC codes mostly follow a formula:
The first digit in a NOC code identifies the broad occupational category. There are ten Skill Types (0 to 9) that refer to broad areas of work. For example, Skill Type 2 includes all ‘Natural and applied sciences and related occupations’.
The second digit in a NOC code identifies the TEER. There are four Skill Levels, and each one is associated with two digits: A (0 and 1), B (2 and 3), C (4 and 5), and D (6 and 7). The Skill Level refers to what kind of education and training is generally necessary for an occupation. For example, Skill Level A occupations usually require a university education.
Sometimes, immigration program guides might refer to NOC Major or Minor Groups.
Major Groups refer to the first two digits of a NOC code together. For example, Major Group 31 refers to most occupations in the health industry (Skill Type 3) that generally require university education (Skill Level A). All of these occupations will be assigned a NOC code that begins with the numbers 31. This includes dentists (3113), pharmacists (3131), and nutritionists (3132), among others.
Minor Groups refer to the first three digits or a NOC code. They group together similar occupations within each major group. For example, judges (4111) and lawyers (4112) are both in Minor Group 411. Social workers (4152) and family counsellors (4153) are both in Minor Group 415. Notice that the first two digits of each minor group refer to the major group it belongs to. In this example, Major Group 41.
You can find your NOC code by searching the NOC matrix either by your industry, or by keywords such as your job title. Be sure to check that the lead statement matches your job description, and that you perform the majority of the duties and responsibilities listed under the NOC code.
Pay close attention to the NOC exclusions also. If your occupation seems to match a certain NOC code, but also matches one of the NOC codes listed as an exclusion, you may not claim that occupation. Whichever NOC code you claim, you will need to prove that it is accurate by providing reference letters from your past employers. In the event that your occupations seems to match multiple NOC codes, you must determine which one best fits your experience. Keep in mind that the visa officer reviewing your application will have in-depth knowledge of the NOC matrix. If they determine that your occupations best fits a different NOC code, they may refuse your application. Search the NOC Matrix
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