Canada’s Changing Occupation Landscape: How the New NOC 2021 System Will Impact Our Immigration Program - Immigration Lawyer Vancouver, Canada | Sas & Ing Immigration Law Centre

BlogCanada’s Changing Occupation Landscape: How the New NOC 2021 System Will Impact Our Immigration Program

2 November 2022

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Canada’s National Occupational Classification (NOC) coding system was first published in the 1990s to classify all the occupations in the Canadian labour market and has been used for decades to evaluate prospective immigrant’s work experience. It has been updated every few years such as the minor changes introduced with NOC 2016, but the newest update that the Department of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) is rolling out on November 16, 2022 is something to be on the lookout for.

Many individuals who are applying or have applied to come to Canada will likely know the importance of identifying the right NOC code for your past or future employment in Canada. In an effort to tailor the NOC codes to the purposes of immigration, and to keep pace with the changing employment trends, NOC 2021 introduces significant changes for immigration purposes, in particular for Canada’s Express Entry selection program.

Occupations will now be classified on a Training, Education, Experience and Responsibilities (TEER) system instead of skill levels (0, A, B, C, D), representing a change in how IRCC will evaluate work experience.

In the new NOC structure, there are six TEER categories in contrast to the current five skill levels. Skill level B, which encompassed the most occupations, will now be split into TEERs 2 and 3 and TEERs 0,1,2,3 will qualify for Express Entry. Skill type 0 will correspond to TEER 0, skill type A will correspond to TEER 1, skill type B will correspond to TEER 2 and 3 and so on.

The TEER categories are defined as follows:

TEER 0 – Management occupations.

TEER 1 – Occupations that usually require a university degree

TEER 2 – Occupations that usually require a college diploma, apprenticeship training of 2 or more years, or supervisory occupations

TEER 3 – Occupations that usually require a college diploma, apprenticeship training of less than 2 years, or more than 6 months of on-the-job training

TEER 4 – Occupations that usually require a high school diploma, or several weeks of on-the-job training

TEER 5 – Occupations that usually need short-term work experience and no formal education

Another significant development is the introduction of 5- digit NOC codes which replaces the current 4-digit codes. An example of the change in numerical coding as well as occupational description can be seen below:

NOC 2016 V.S. NOC 2021
7535 74203
Other automotive mechanical installers and services Automotive and heavy truck equipment parts installers and services

Most of the occupational classifications from the previous NOC system will maintain the same eligibility, however, for individuals working in the 16 newly eligible occupations for Express Entry, this is an exciting time to assess your chances! For the full list of the newly eligible as well as ineligible occupations for Express Entry, please see this link: (

The new NOC 2021 system will open doors for many individuals, but also may raise concerns for other applicants. If NOC 2021 will cause your occupation to fall below the new eligibility requirements, you are faced with a few options: either submitting your Express Entry profile before November 16, or begin looking towards alternatives.

If you plan to submit an Express Entry profile after November 16, keep in mind to find your NOC 2021 TEER level and 5-digit code on the government of Canada’s NOC web page. Candidates who have applied, but who have yet received an Invitation to Apply (ITA) need to update their NOC code on their profile before November 16 in order to remain eligible. If you have received an ITA before November 16, 2022, you must submit your application for permanent residence using NOC 2016.

The introduction of NOC 2021 brings the most significant changes to Canada’s occupational classification system that we’ve seen in the past 10 years. The new NOC 2021 morphs to a six level TEER system with the new 5 digit numerical classification codes. Many former C skill level occupations will elevate to become former B level occupations (TEER 2 or 3), opening the gates for individuals in those 16 occupations which previously did not qualify for Express Entry. For prospective immigrants and for those who are currently in the process of applying, you will need to watch, assess and potentially adjust your Canadian immigration plans

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