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The Impact of Changes to the National Occupational Classification (NOC) on Express Entry Applicants

A recent change to the National Occupational Classification (NOC) system will impact how your work experience will be listed in your Express Entry profile, as well as the eligibility for some permanent residence applications (PR). The latest changes to the eligibility criteria can make the application process for Canadian immigration confusing and stressful.
NOC stands for National Occupational Classification. A NOC system is used in Canada to classify occupations based on their job duties, type of work, and skill level. The NOC system is exclusively managed by Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) and Statistics Canada. The NOC system categorizes over 30,000 occupational titles, which are revised every 10 years after an analysis of current occupations in the Canadian labour market. IRCC uses the NOC system to define which occupations are eligible for numerous immigration programs, including Express Entry.

Changes Made Under NOC 2021
On November 16, the NOC 2016 will be replaced by the NOC 2021. NOC 2021 will introduce new terminology and a revised classification structure for occupations. Here are the three substantial changes being made under NOC 2021:
•    As opposed to NOC 2016, NOC 2021 takes into consideration the differences between educational requirements and formal training, so it also considers the knowledge and skills acquired through on-the-job training.
•    Under NOC 2016, the jobs were divided under a four-category “Skill Level” structure, NOC A, B, C, and D. And, in NOC 2021, jobs will be classified into six TEER levels, ranging from TEER 0 to TEER 5.
•    Under NOC 2016, jobs were classified with a four-digit code, which will change to a five-digit code under NOC 2021.

Effects of NOC changes on Express Entry Applicants
A change to the NOC system will impact both newcomers in the Express Entry pool who have not yet received an Invitation to Apply (ITA) as well as those planning to apply to Canadian immigration programs. It is expected that most immigration applicants will not be adversely affected by the changes to NOC classification, which are primarily structural. Express Entry candidates may still be affected in two ways:

Adding NOC 2021 Codes in the Express Entry Profile
To create an Express Entry profile, you must provide the NOC codes of your previous jobs. Going forward, candidates will need to provide their updated NOC 2021 codes after switching to NOC 2021. If you already have an Express Entry profile (but have not received an ITA), you must update your profile to reflect the new NOC codes.

Express Entry Occupational Eligibility Changes
Going forward only certain skill levels (now TEER) will be eligible for specific immigration programs. It was previously required to have at least NOC Skill Level B to be eligible for Express Entry programs. TEER 3 will become the eligibility cut-off for Express Entry with NOC 2021. The result will be the inclusion of 16 new occupations and the exclusion of three.

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