Immigration Canada switches to NOC 2021

Canada is now using NOC 2021 to classify occupations for immigration and temporary residence applications.

The changes are now in effect and have major implications for people who are applying for permanent residency, work permits, and those who have profiles in the Express Entry system.

There are three broad changes happening:

  • The former five-category skill level structure is being replaced with a six-category system called Training, Education, Experience, and Responsibilities (TEER) categories.
  • All 4-digit occupation codes are now 5-digit codes.
  • Eligibility criteria for all programs that use the NOC now refer to NOC 2021.

The following tables show how the new NOC skill levels compare to the new TEER system, and the criteria for each of the six new categories.

NOC 2016 NOC 2021
Skill Type 0 ➔ TEER 0
Skill Level A ➔ TEER 1
Skill Level B ➔ TEER 2
Skill Level C ➔ TEER 4
Skill Level D ➔ TEER 5

NOC 2021 Training, Education, Experience and Responsibility (TEER)

NOC 2021 Training, Education, Experience and Responsibility (TEER)
TEER Category 0 – Management
TEER Category 1 – Completion of a university degree (bachelor’s, master’s or doctorate); OR
– previous experience and expertise in subject matter knowledge from a related occupation found in TEER 2 (when applicable).
TEER Category 2 – Completion of a 2-3 year post-secondary education program at community college, institute of technology, or CÉGEP; OR
– Completion of a 2-5 apprenticeship training program; OR
– Occupations with supervisory or significant safety (e.g. police officers and firefighters) responsibilities; OR
– Several years of experience in a related occupation from TEER 3 (when applicable).
TEER Category 3 – Completion of a post-secondary education program of less than two years at community college, institute of technology, or CÉGEP; OR
– Completion of an apprenticeship training program of less than two years; OR
– 6+ months of on-the-job training, training courses, or specific work experience with some secondary school education; OR
– Several years of experience in a related occupation from TEER 4 (when applicable).
TEER Category 4 – Completion of secondary school; OR
– Several weeks of on-the-job training with some secondary school education; OR
– Experience in a related occupation from TEER 5 (when applicable).
TEER Category 5 – Occupations that usually need short-term work demonstration and no formal education

How NOC 2021 affects Express Entry

Express Entry candidates who received an Invitation to Apply (ITA) before November 16, 2022, must submit their application for permanent residence using NOC 2016, according to the Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC)’s website.

Those who receive an ITA in the next Express Entry draw and after will now have to apply using NOC 2021.

With the new TEER categories, there are 16 occupations that are becoming eligible for Express Entry, and three that are no longer eligible.

The 16 occupations that are now eligible for Express Entry include:

  • Payroll administrators
  • Dental assistants and dental laboratory assistants
  • 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

The three occupations that are no longer eligible for Express Entry include:

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

These three occupations are still eligible for certain programs with broader work experience criteria, such as some streams of the Provincial Nominee Program (PNP).

NOC 2021 does not change how Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) or Federal Skilled Worker Program selection factor points are calculated, only which occupations are eligible for points.

This table shows how the TEER categories affect the eligibility criteria for each Express Entry-managed program.

Eligibility criteria Canadian Experience Class Federal Skilled Worker Program Federal Skilled Trades Program
Language skills English or French skills
•CLB 7 for TEER 0 or TEER 1 occupations
•CLB 5 for TEER 2 or TEER 3 occupations
English or French skills
English or French skills
•CLB 5 for speaking and listening
•CLB 4 for reading and writing
Type/Level of work experience Canadian work experience in an occupation listed in 1 or more of these NOC TEER Categories:
Work experience in an occupation listed in 1 or more of these NOC TEER Categories:
Work experience in a skilled trade under key groups of TEER 2 or TEER 3:
•Major Group 72, technical trades and transportation officers and controllers, excluding Sub-Major Group 726, transportation officers and controllers
•Major Group 73, general trades
•Major Group 82, supervisors in natural resources, agriculture and related production
•Major Group 83, occupations in natural resources and related production
•Major Group 92, processing, manufacturing and utilities supervisors, and utilities operators and controllers
•Major Group 93, central control and process operators and aircraft assembly assemblers and inspectors, excluding Sub-Major Group 932, aircraft assemblers and aircraft assembly inspectors
•Minor Group 6320, cooks, butchers and bakers
•Unit Group 62200, chefs
Amount of work experience One year in Canada in the last 3 years (either combination of full-time or part-time work) One year continuous within the last 10 years (combination of part-time, full-time or more than 1 job in your primary occupation) Two years within last 5 years (either combination of full-time or part-time work)
Job offer Not required. Not required.
But you can get selection criteria (FSW) points for having a valid job offer.
•a valid job offer of full-time employment for a total period of at least 1 year or
•a certificate of qualification in that skilled trade issued by a Canadian provincial, territorial or federal authority
Education Not required. Secondary education required.
You can get more selection criteria (FSW) points for your post-secondary education.
Not required.

If you are in the pool, you will need to update your Express Entry profile with the new five-digit code associated with your occupation.

You can find your new NOC code by using the government website. Once you have found your new code, you can update your primary occupation and work history in your Express Entry profile.

Your profile must be up to date in order to receive an ITA. If IRCC keeps on its course of holding rounds of invitations every two weeks, the next draw is expected to happen on November 23.

Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs)

Canada’s Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs) are also adopting the new system.

NOC 2021 will especially affect PNPs with occupation-specific criteria, such as the BC PNP Tech, and the Saskatchewan Occupations In-Demand programs.

Although it is possible to apply to certain PNPs through the Express Entry system, it is not always necessary. Some PNPs have their own expression of interest systems outside of Express Entry, and these programs may not require candidates to have a TEER category of 0,1,2, or 3.

PNP candidates first receive a nomination from a provincial or territorial authority before applying for permanent residency.

IRCC offers special instructions for Express Entry candidates who received a provincial nomination on or after November 15 but have a 4-digit NOC code on their certificate.

The government website says: “If your nomination certificate has a 4-digit NOC code, you must use NOC code 9388 in every NOC field of your Express Entry profile. We’ll assess your application using the NOC 2016 code on your nomination certificate.”

For those with five digit codes on their certificate, they just need to update their Express Entry profile with that code.

Contact Donoso & Partners to learn more about the routes to permanent residency in Canada and file your Express Entry Application.

Donoso & Partners, a leading immigration law firm based in Washington, D.C., will continue to report on developments regarding immigration law and policy through our news section of


Donoso & Partners, LLC provide assistance with review and advice regarding eligibility for visas to the U.S. or Canada.

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