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The National Classification of Occupations (NOC) is a standardized system in Canada that categorizes each job in the labour market with a code and job description.
It is crucial to accurately determine your NOC when seeking immigration to Canada via the Express Entry system. Through this system, your skilled work experience can be recognized and awarded the appropriate points you need to apply for the Express Entry.
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 National Classification of Occupations (NOC) is a standardized system used by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) in Canada that categorizes each job in the labour market with a code and job description.
The NOC, or National Occupation Classification, utilizes the NOC matrix to allocate a code to every occupation present in the Canadian labour market. Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) assess the work experience of each immigration candidate based on their NOC codes. Candidates are required to indicate the NOC code that corresponds to their work experience while applying. Certain economic immigration streams only accept applicants who have experience in occupations associated with specific NOC codes. Consequently, it is crucial for you, as an applicant, to grasp the functioning of NOC codes.
Selecting the suitable NOC code is a critical component of your immigration application. If you mistakenly identify a NOC code that does not correspond to your work experience, your application may be declined. It is your responsibility to ensure that you select the correct NOC code and that you possess the necessary evidence to support it. Each NOC code comes with a job title, lead statement, and an inventory of primary duties and responsibilities associated with it.
Attention to the job title and the lead statement of the NOC you choose is crucial. That is because your work experience could be relevant to multiple NOC codes, or your job title might be connected to a NOC code that does not accurately reflect your experience. It is important to mention that to be eligible for Canadian immigration, your work experience must align with the lead statement, and you should have fulfilled the majority of the duties and responsibilities mentioned.
The Training, Education, Experience, and Responsibilities (TEER) category is assigned to occupations by the NOC. There are six TEER categories, designated as TEER 0 to TEER 5.
The NOC code is categorized in the following manner:
The initial digit represents the overarching occupational category;
The succeeding digit denotes the TEER category;
The first two digits combined represent the major group;
The first three digits represent the sub-major group;
The initial four digits correspond to the minor group; and
The full five digits indicate the unit group or the occupation itself.
TEER 0 represents the Management occupations; while TEER 1 includes completion of a university degree, which can be a bachelor's, master's or doctorate; or several years of experience in a specific occupation from TEER category 2.
The job descriptions categorized in the TEER 2 require completion of a post-secondary education program lasting two to three years at a community college, institute of technology or CÉGEP. It may require completion of a two to five-year apprenticeship training program; occupations with supervisory or significant safety responsibilities, such as police officers and firefighters, or several years of experience in a specific occupation from TEER category 3.
The TEER 3 includes completion of a post-secondary education program of less than two years at a community college, institute of technology or CÉGEP; or an apprenticeship training program lasting less than two years; or more than six months of on-the-job training, training courses, or specific work experience with some secondary school education; or several years of experience in a specific occupation from TEER category 4.
TEER 4 requires completion of secondary school; or several weeks of on-the-job training with some secondary school education; while category 5 includes a brief work demonstration and has no formal educational requirements.
In terms of immigration, any occupation classified as TEER level 0,1,2 or 3 is categorized as high-skilled, while work classified under TEER level 4 or 5 is considered low-skilled. To determine the classification of your occupation, the simplest method is to consult the NOC Matrix available on the Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) website.
To locate your NOC code, use the NOC Matrix on the Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) website. Make sure that the lead statement matches your job description and that you have performed most of the duties and responsibilities listed under the NOC code. Be mindful of any NOC exclusions that may disqualify your occupation, even if it appears to match a certain NOC code.
When selecting a NOC code, you must provide evidence, such as reference letters from past employers, to support its accuracy. If your occupation matches multiple NOC codes, choose the one that best fits your experience. Keep in mind that visa officers are knowledgeable about the NOC matrix and may refuse your application if they believe that your occupation is better suited for a different NOC code.
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