Canada will be introducing a new way to evaluate a candidate’s work experience; once implemented, the new NOC system will likely shift who will be eligible for certain Canadian immigration programs in the second half of 2022.
The structure of the National Occupational Classification (NOC) has undergone a massive overhaul. These changes are expected to be implemented in the last half of 2022. NOC codes are integral to the Canadian immigration process. As a result, these changes are expected to have a significant impact on Canadian immigration eligibility.
What is a NOC code?
The National Occupational Classification (NOC) system is used to group jobs based on job duties and the type of work an individual does. There are currently about 35,000 job titles to choose from. When applying for most Canadian immigration programs, candidates must choose the NOC code that most closely matches their work experience.
Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) then uses NOC codes to evaluate an immigration applicant’s work experience and determine program eligibility. Most notably, the Express Entry system requires candidates to have at least one year of work experience in what is currently NOC Skill Level A, B, or 0.
How is the NOC system changing?
The new structure will scrap “Skill Levels” altogether and instead divide NOC codes into different categories based on Training, Education, Experience and Responsibilities (TEER).
These TEER categories will distinguish more clearly between formal training and education, especially within what is currently classified as Skill Level B. Under the current NOC 2016 matrix, almost half of occupations are classified under Skill Level B.
A new level will be added to provide more clarification on the amount of education or training required for the role. Instead of using Skill Levels 0, A, B, C, and D, the TEER system will categorize occupations into numeric categories: 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5.
Another change will be the length of the code. While codes currently consist of four digits, the new NOC 2021 system will feature a five-digit code.
What is the significance of the NOC system changing?
IRCC has not confirmed how these changes will affect the Express Entry system or other immigration programs.
One possibility may be that Express Entry draws begin issuing invitations by targeting certain NOC codes that are in demand at the time.
Some candidates may find themselves to be no longer eligible for certain programs following the NOC changes. The changes may also positively impact certain candidates who may become eligible after being previously deemed ineligible due to their occupation.