Looking to Hire Foreign Talent? What You Need to Know about the New NOC

If you’re looking to hire foreign talent, upcoming changes to the National Occupation Classification (NOC) system will affect how you bring skilled workers into Canada.

As of November 16, 2022, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada and Employment and Social Development Canada will use the 2021 version of the NOC when assessing skilled worker permanent residence and work permit applications. This change impacts Express Entry and a variety of other major Canadian immigration and work permit pathways.

Five TEER Categories

NOC 2021 introduces a new Training, Education, Experience and Responsibilities (TEER) category with a five-digit hierarchical skill level structure.

teer table

Workers can move to a higher TEER category based on their work experience even if they don’t have the prescribed educational qualifications. To this extent, lengthy work experience is treated as equivalent to a formal degree.

Which Programs Are Affected by the Changes?

TEER impacts eligibility criteria for the following 11 programs:

  • Express Entry: Canadian Experience Class (CEC), Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP), Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP)
  • Atlantic Immigration Program (AIP)
  • Provincial Nominee Program (PNP)
  • Caregivers Programs
  • Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot
  • Agri-Food Pilot
  • Out-of-Status Construction Workers
  • Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP)
  • International Mobility Program (IMP)

Any immigration program that required a NOC will see changes as the NOC 2021 becomes mandatory.

What Does This Change Mean?

NOC 2021 will change the eligibility criteria for Express Entry, one of Canada’s main methods of bringing skilled immigrants to the country. Candidates who were previously ineligible may now meet the revised eligibility criteria.

All three programs under Express Entry (CEC, FSWP and FSTP) will see shifts in eligibility criteria. For example, the CEC’s eligibility criteria for English or French skills will be the Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) 7 for TEER 0 or TEER 1 occupations and CLB 5 for TEER 2 or TEER 3 occupations. FSWP will require CLB 7 and FSTP will require CLB 5 for speaking and listening and CLB 4 for reading and writing.

The Comprehensive Ranking System points given for “arranged employment” will now follow an updated Skill Type/Level chart. A candidate who would have received 50 points for arranged employment in Skill Type/Level 0, A or B under NOC 2016 will still get those points if their NOC is in TEER 0, 1, 2 or 3.

In addition, points given for “selection factors” as part of the FSWP will now follow an updated Skill Type/Level chart. A candidate who would have received 10 points for arranged employment in Skill Type/Level 0, A or B under NOC 2016 will still get those points in TEER 0, 1, 2 or 3.

Candidates who submit an Express Entry profile on or after November 16, 2022, will be required to submit their occupation code in line with NOC 2021. Candidates who have already submitted a profile but have not received an Invitation to Apply will need to update their Express Entry profile with their new NOC 2021 TEER category and five-digit occupation code.

Which Occupations Will Be Affected?

A total of 16 occupations will now become eligible for Express Entry and three will become ineligible. Some of the newly eligible occupations include payroll administrators; dental assistants and dental laboratory assistants; nurse aides, orderlies and patient service associates; other repairers and servicers; transport truck drivers; bus drivers, subway operators and other transit operators; and heavy equipment operators.

The three occupations that will become ineligible include:

  • other performers;
  • program leaders and instructors in recreation, sport and fitness; and
  • tailors, dressmakers, furriers and milliners.

These three occupations will remain eligible for programs with broader occupational eligibility criteria, such as some streams of the PNP.

The new NOC system will have wide-ranging impacts on employers looking to recruit foreign workers. Our immigration lawyers have extensive experience advising employers across Western Canada on effective strategies for bringing foreign nationals into Canada. If you need help navigating the new NOC requirements, contact us to learn how we can help.

Authors: Andreina Varela-Taylor, Scott Bell

Note: This article is of a general nature only and is not exhaustive of all possible legal rights or remedies. In addition, laws may change over time and should be interpreted only in the context of particular circumstances such that these materials are not intended to be relied upon or taken as legal advice or opinion. Readers should consult a legal professional for specific advice in any particular situation.