Canada immigration changes: NOC to adopt 5-digit TEER Code

Canada immigration changes: NOC to adopt 5-digit TEER Code

Abhishek Rai Abhishek Rai
[Published 19 Jan, 2022 | 03:41 PM]
About Author - 12 min read

Canada immigration will undergo certain changes as the National Occupation Classification (NOC) will adopt a 5-digit code by mid of 2022. Currently, NOC has a 4-digit code for categorizing various occupations. It will have a huge impact on the processing of immigration applications for Canada. 

The Government of Canada will change the way it classifies the skill level of every occupation through the new 5-digit code. Currently, Skill Levels have 4 categories which will increase to 6 categories in 2022. This is for better reflection of the TEER – Responsibilities, Experience, Education, and Training of each job. It implies a complete overhaul of the manner of classification of occupations. 

The changes will impact specific economic class applicants and overseas worker applicants. Nevertheless, the Government will later announce the exact category of Canada immigration applicants that will be impacted by the changes.

What is the National Occupational Classification (NOC)?

National Occupational Classification (NOC) is a standardized and nationally recognized system used by IRCC - Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada for assessing the work experience of immigration applicants. It is the system adopted by Canada for classifying occupations for immigration purposes. One of the most crucial aspects of Canada immigration application is choosing the accurate NOC. 

IRCC reviews the NOC every year and updates it once in 5 years for ensuring that it aligns with the dynamic labor market in Canada. National Occupational Classification is revamped roughly every ten years and the latest edition will be a major upgrading after 2011. Statistics Canada has released the updated NOC 2021 notification recently. 

Role of NOC in Canada Immigration

NOC is quite crucial for Canada immigration as it is used both by the Provincial and Federal governments for managing the immigration programs for skilled workers and the TFWP - the Temporary Foreign Worker Program

A Temporary Foreign Worker or immigrant has to fulfill the eligibility criteria under NOC for the immigration program that they wish to apply for. All provinces and territories in Canada implement the NOC for identifying jobs that must be filled through various immigration programs. 

For instance, in March 2021 New Brunswick provisionally decreased the work experience criteria for the stream for Truck Drivers. Candidates are targeted through NOC 7511 for this stream. 

British Columbia in February 2021 revoked the omission of 31 codes in NOC for its 2 draws offering 494 ITAs to candidates. Previously, the province had restricted the immigration of individuals for working in these jobs for almost one year. 

In late 2020, Saskatchewan frequently targeted in-demand occupations by the usage of NOC codes. 

If you are applying as a skilled worker through the immigration programs in Express Entry, you must prove work experience in a NOC in any one of the following codes: 

  • NOC 0 – Jobs under skill type 0 are normally managerial occupations.
  • NOC A – Jobs under skill type A are of Professional nature that normally requires a degree from a University.
  • NOC B – Jobs under skill type B are occupations under skilled trades that normally require a Diploma from a College or apprentice training.

Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada and territories and provinces in Canada are currently using NOC 2016 for assessing the eligibility of applicants for skilled worker immigration. The ESDC - Employment and Social Development Canada is also using NOC 2016 for evaluating LMIA - Labor Market Impact Assessment applications. 

The labor market test of the Government of Canada is known as the LMIA. This is needed for the TFWP - Temporary Foreign Worker Program. While evaluating the LMIA application ESDC has to decide if the recruiting of an overseas citizen will have a neutral or positive impact on workers in Canada. At this stage, the overseas worker can use the LMIA report and letter of a job offer for supporting the Work Permit application with IRCC. 

NOC 2021 will be in force by 2022 fall

IRCC has said that the Government of Canada is anticipating that the changed NOC system for categorizing occupations will be implemented by the fall of 2022. It has been said that IRCC will get the time required meanwhile for informing stakeholders regarding the changes and implementing the latest system across the immigration programs. Moreover, IRCC is also aligning the new classification with the ESDC for ensuring uniformity across the process of Work Permit applications.

TEER system to replace current skill levels in NOC

Currently, the NOC system categorizes various jobs depending on the type of skills. The new TEER system will classify jobs depending on their Responsibilities, Experience, Education, and Training. At present, skill levels under NOC are divided into 4 categories: D, C, B, and A. NOC 2021 will replace this classification with the new TEER system that has 6 categories: TEER 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, and 0.


Management occupations
Completion of a degree from University (Doctorate, Master’s or Bachelor’s);       orMany years experience in a definite occupation from TEER category 2 (when relevant)
Completion of a Post-secondary education program of 2 to 3 years at Institute of Technology, Community College, or CÉGEP;           orCompletion of a training program of apprenticeship of 2 to 5 years;          orOccupations with significant safety or supervisory (firefighters and police officers) responsibilities;         orMany years experience in a definite occupation from TEER category 3 (when relevant)
Completion of a Post-secondary education program of fewer than 2 years duration at Institute of Technology, Community College, or CÉGEP;              orA training program of apprenticeship of fewer than 2 years duration;            orSix months plus of training courses, on-the-job training, or precise work experience and secondary school education;            orMany years experience in a definite occupation from TEER category 4 (when relevant)
Completion of secondary school;         orNumerous weeks of on-the-job training  and secondary school education;         orMany years experience in a definite occupation from TEER category 5 (when relevant
Little work demonstration and no recognized educational requirements

Why the Government of Canada is implementing TEERs over NOC skill levels?

According to Statistics Canada, several reasons are responsible for the change. 

Firstly, the definition of occupations according to ‘skill levels’ is puzzling because the focus of NOC is on occupations and not on skills. The implementation of the TEER system will allow focusing on experience and education needed for working in a specific occupation. 

Secondly, Statistics Canada contends that the earlier NOC category system creates artificially a low- versus high-skilled classification. The revamping eliminates the low/high classification for further precisely capturing the skills needed for each occupation. 

Lastly, IRCC is facing censure from Quebec province and several Canada immigration applicants for hindrances in the processing of applications. In May 2021, the Minister of Immigration in the Quebec province severely criticized IRCC for delaying Quebec immigration applications. 

Nadine Girault Minister of Immigration in Quebec in a tweet in French said that severe delays being faced by immigrants are highly deplorable. The immigrants who have been chosen by Quebec have to wait indefinitely for obtaining Canada Permanent Residency Visa, added the Minster. 

The Canada PR applications processing tine for Quebec province was earlier reported to be 2 plus years, around 27 months. This is in comparison with just 6 months for the rest of Canada. The situation is reported to be showing no significant improvement as per the media reports. The processing times for Quebec applications were around 19 months in 2019. 

What do the changes imply for Canada immigration applicants? 

Once IRCC and ESDC implement the NOC 2021, Canada immigration and overseas worker applicants have to make sure that their NOC matches with the eligibility conditions for the program that they chose to apply to. 

For example, one chief area being watched is the manner in which ESDC and IRCC opt for classifying jobs that are at present being defined as ‘B’ skill level. Statistics Canada has reportedly said that this category has expanded excessively with time due to the inclusion of occupations that need different levels of experience and education. 

As of now, it is unknown as to which categories in TEER will qualify for programs managed by Express Entry and other Provincial and Federal programs that at present need a NOC level at high skills. 

NOC 2016  V1.3 - Allocation of Unit Groups as per Skill Level
NOC 2021 V1.0 - Allocation of Unit Groups  as per TEER

0 TEER Category                                   9%
A Skill Level                                       28%
1 TEER Category                                  19%
B Skill Level                                       42%
2 TEER Category                                  31%
C Skill Level                                       24%
3 TEER Category                                  13%
D Skill Level                                       6%
4 TEER Category                                  18%

5 TEER Category                                   9%

The TEER system consists of 516 occupations which is an increase over 500 occupations in NOC 2016. New occupations have been included for accommodating emerging areas such as Cyber Security, Data Science, and others. 

Nationwide Visas offers you seamless and up-to-date Canada immigration and Visa services through ICCRC accredited Immigration Advisors. You can be assured of 100% compliance with the latest policies and rules for ensuring maximum success outcomes for your application. 


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