March 11, 2015


Posted by Legal Team - Bellissimo Law Group PC

Who’s there?  An organizational framework of occupations in the Canadian labour market called the National Occupational Classification (NOC) 2011, that’s who!

NOC 2011 is the framework used by Citizenship and Immigration (CIC) to classify occupations and positions for various points as well as eligibility under various programs.  These classification codes (typically referred to as NOC codes) are required when applicants are submitting Express Entry (EE) profiles as well as for economic class permanent resident applications, such as the Canadian Experience Class (CEC) and Federal Skilled Worker (FSW) categories.

All occupations under NOC 2011 are classified into various skills levels, O, A, B, C or D.  NOC O, A and B skill levels are considered “high-skilled” occupations, whereas NOC C and D skill levels are considered “low-skilled” occupations.  Occupation skill levels are defined by the amount and type of education and training required to enter and perform the duties of an occupation.


Finding the right NOC:

With approximately 40,000 occupational titles classified in the 500 unit groups, finding the right NOC can be overwhelming.  Some may easily fall under specific NOCs, whereas others cross over a few different NOCs.  The key is to select the NOC that best matches your position.

For the EE system, CEC and FSW categories, CIC will only accept work performed in a high skilled work (level O, A or B).  Along with the skill level, an applicant needs to show that they have performed the actions described in the “lead statement” for the occupation, as well as a “substantial number” of the main duties, including all essential duties, as set out in the NOC chosen for their position.

It is therefore essential that applicants review the various NOCs available to them and choose the correct NOC code for current and past positions before completing their EE profiles and subsequent permanent residence applications.  Choosing the wrong NOC code(s) can be fatal to your application and affect your eligibility under EE as well as certain permanent residence categories.

Let’s take for example, an applicant who has two years of work experience in Canada as a call center representative where technical support to computer users is provided.  If we review the NOC 2011, two NOCs seem to be viable options:

1) The general NOC for call center representative (NOC 6552 – Other customer and information services representatives) a skill level C or

2) The more specific NOC for technical support call center representatives (NOC 2282 – User Support Technicians) a skill level B.

If this applicant chooses the lower skill level, general call center agent NOC 6552, their experience would not qualify for entry into the EE system or eligibility for either the CEC or FSW categories.  If they chose the more specific NOC under skill level B, this experience would qualify them for entry into the EE pool, points for Canadian work experience as well as for the CEC category.

Choosing the right NOC can be a time consuming, cumbersome process. If you would like more information on NOCs or assistance choosing one, please contact our office.


For more information on Express Entry, please click here.

For more information on the Federal Skilled Worker Program, please click here.

For more information on the Canadian Experience Class, please click here.