December 8, 2022

National Occupational Classification (NOC) 2021: What you Need to Know 

Posted by Michelle Boeriu - Bellissimo Law Group PC

As we all know, immigration is the primary source for Canada to address the acute labour shortage in many industries and at many levels.  Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) continuously try to tweak the immigration system to address this issue and accept qualified professionals and trades people who would like to come to Canada and bring their knowledge, skills and expertise to our economy. 

On 16 November 2022, IRCC switched from the old 2016 NOC to the new version of 2021 NOC, which will be used for all applicants across the board and have an impact on the permanent residence applicants who are processed under the Express Entry (EE) system. 

The new 2021 NOC, prepared by Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) and Statistics Canada, takes into consideration the changes taking place in the labour sector and it involves a deep analysis of all the market factors, research and analysis over a few years, consultations with occupation specialists, public and employers. 

NOC determines the eligibility criteria under IRCC’s temporary and permanent residency programs. The 2016 NOC that was used by IRCC until 16 November 2022 was structured at 5 levels: 0, A, B, C and D and had 4-digit codes.  

The previous NOC system allowed applicants for permanent residence (PR) (EE programs), to choose their NOC level from 3 categories: 0 (zero – managerial), A (professionals) or B (college/trades educated).  NOC C and/or D applicants were eligible through one of the Provincial Nominee Programs (PNP) streams, run by each province.  

The 2021 NOC is structured with 6 teers, that represent the training, education, experience and responsibilities needed to work in those occupations – and has a 5-digit code; 

Equivalency between the two NOC systems is below. 

2016 NOC Levels 

5 levels 

0, A, B, C and D 
2021 NOC Teers 

6 levels 

0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5  
Skill level 0:  Teer 0 
Skill level A : Teer 1 
Skill level B:  Teer 2 and Teer 3 
Skill level C:  Teer 4 
Skill level D:  Teer 5 

Due to the re-assignment of the NOC codes, 16 occupations that previously were not eligible for PR under the Express Entry, are now eligible as the NOC code is now at Teer 2 or 3, instead of the equivalent of NOC level C or D as they were classified before. The 16 occupations that qualify now for EE under the new NOC: 

  • payroll administrators (previously in 2016, NOC 1432, current NOC 13102 teer 3); 
  • dental assistants and dental laboratory assistants (NOC 3411 vs Teer 3 NOC 33100); 
  • nurse aides, orderlies and patient service associates 
  • pharmacy technical assistants and pharmacy assistants 
  • elementary and secondary school teacher assistants 
  • sheriffs and bailiffs 
  • correctional service officers 
  • by-law enforcement and other regulatory officers 
  • estheticians, electrologists and related occupations 
  • residential and commercial installers and servicers 
  • pest controllers and fumigators 
  • other repairers and servicers 
  • transport truck drivers 
  • bus drivers, subway operators and other transit operators 
  • heavy equipment operators 
  • aircraft assemblers and aircraft assembly inspectors 

Three previously eligible occupations became ineligible under the new 2021 NOC: 

  • Other performers 
  • Program leaders and instructors in recreation, sport, and fitness
  • Tailors, dressmakers, furriers, and milliners 

The new NOC creates 16 more unit groups than the previous 2016 NOC system and some occupations have been split according to the duties performed in new coded occupations. One must check the duties in detail to establish their correct NOC code under the new system.  

If you need any help with establishing your NOC code, please feel free to contact us. 

Thank you.