Published On: November 4th, 2021 / Last Updated: October 31st, 2021 / 3.8 min read /

NOC Codes are changing; NOC 2021 launched – Implementation in 2022 – How will it impact immigration programs?

The National Occupational Classification (NOC) is Canada’s national system for describing occupations. The NOC was due to have a major update in 2021, as the last major structural update was in 2011. Economic class immigration programs, temporary foreign worker programs and many other federal and provincial programs depend on the NOC to classify workers, for their skilled work, performed in Canada or out of Canada.

The NOC 2021 is the result of a major revision cycle that involved in-depth research, analysis, and assessment of the input received through consultations and occupational research. Input from the public and stakeholders has been an integral part of the revision process.

When you apply under the economic class for immigration or a temporary foreign worker (TFW), one of the eligibility criteria you should meet is also the NOC depending on the program you are applying for.

How does current NOC work

Currently, the NOC is divided into

  • Broad Occupational Category
  • Skill Level
  • Major Group
  • Minor Group
  • Unit Group

So for instance, if you are applying under Express Entry, usually you will need to have experience in

  • NOC 0 – there are management positions usually
  • NOC A –  Occupations usually require university education.
  • NOC B – Occupations usually require a college education, specialized training or apprenticeship training.

The last version in use for the NOC version was 2016. It is this version NOC 2016, which is currently used by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC), provincial authorities and territorial authorities to assess eligibility criteria related to work experience for various programs.

How does the new NOC 2021 work

The new NOC 2021 includes structural changes such as the addition, aggregation or merging, and splitting of unit groups as well as the reorganization of certain groups across broad occupational categories and Training, Education, Experience and Responsibilities (TEER) categories. The new NOC 2021 also:

  • Overhauls the current four-category NOC “Skill level” structure by introducing a new six-category system representing the level of Training, Education, Experience and Responsibilities (TEER) required for entry in an occupation.
  • Adopts a five-tiered hierarchical arrangement of occupational groups with successive levels of disaggregation containing broad occupational categories, major groups, sub-major groups, minor groups, and unit groups.
  • Introduces a brand new five-digit codification system to replace the current four-digit system.
Management – TEERTEER 0
Completion of a university degree (bachelor’s, master’s or doctorate);
Previous experience and expertise in subject matter knowledge from a related occupation found in TEER 2 (when applicable).
Completion of a post-secondary education program of two to three years at community college, institute of technology or CÉGEP;
Completion of an apprenticeship training program of two to five years;
Occupations with supervisory or significant safety (e.g. police officers and firefighters) responsibilities;
Several years of experience in a related occupation from TEER 3 (when applicable).
Completion of a post-secondary education program of less than two years at community college, institute of technology or CÉGEP;
Completion of an apprenticeship training program of less than two years;
More than six months of on-the-job training, training courses or specific work experience with some secondary school education;
Several years of experience in a related occupation from TEER 4 (when applicable).
Completion of secondary school;
Several weeks of on-the-job training with some secondary school education; or
Experience in a related occupation from TEER 5 (when applicable).
Short work demonstration and no formal educational requirements.TEER 5

What impact these changes will have on my current or future application for immigration or other programs

Since the NOC 2021 changes are not implemented yet. One thing that will remain is that you will have to use the correct NOC 2021 codes, where necessary when dealing with immigration-related applications.

We will have to wait until IRCC and ESDS and other related departments will eventually start to implement the NOC 2021, and provide more information as we move closer to the full implementation by all departments involved.

When will the NOC 2021 changes take place?

The NOC 2021 changes are expected to be implemented in the “fall of 2022”.

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