Considering making a move to the Great North but the immigration system seems like one big complex maze? Well, you’re not alone. With specialized terms like the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS), National Occupational Classification (NOC), Educational Credential Assessment (ECA), and more, it can be difficult to understand what it is that you actually need for a successful Canadian visa application.
Well, all of the above mentioned, your CRS score, your NOC Code, and ECA can all help you gain extra PR points in the Express Entry System and maybe permanent residency in Canada!
What is the Express Entry System?
The Express Entry System manages three federal economic programs. Each program is dedicated to a specific level or type of skill, or profession. The three programs include:
- Federal Skilled Worker Program - Skill type 0 and level A or B (Managerial, Professional, Technical and Skilled Trade Jobs)
- Federal Skilled Trade Program - Major Group 72,73,82,92,632,633 (Industrial, electrical and construction trades, maintenance, and equipment operation trades, supervisors and technical jobs in natural resources, agriculture and related production, processing, manufacturing, and utilities supervisors and central control operators, chefs, and cooks, butchers and bakers
- Canadian Experience Class - Skill type 0 and level A or B (Managerial, Professional, Technical and Skilled Trade Jobs)
As each program is occupation-oriented or based on your type of work experience, it makes sense that the government would need some sort of system to classify every job in the Canadian Labour market based on skill. This system is known as the National Occupational Code or NOC.
What’s My Code?
NOC Job Classification Criteria
There are two major ways that jobs in Canada are classified; the broad occupational category and the skill level. Things like occupational mobility and the industrial sector are also taken into consideration.
Broad occupational category: This represents the kind of work, the field of study, or the industry whenever industry-specific work experience is required. The first number of an NOC code represents the broad work category.
Skill level: This represents a broad group of factors including education, training, and work experience. The complexity of the tasks and responsibilities associated with the job is also considered. The second number of an NOC code represents the skill level.
Job title: This represents the name given to a position or job.
Occupation: An occupation is a set of jobs that have similar work duties and tasks. A job matches all the tasks or duties performed by a worker.
Unit group: This represents one or many occupations combined within the NOC. It also refers to the four-digit or number code used by the NOC.
Minor group: This represents the domain in which an occupation is carried out (occupational domain). It is an aggregation of several unit groups and thus represents the three-digit code used by the NOC.
Major group: This represents the broad occupational category and skill level of an occupation. A major group includes various minor groups and therefore represents the two-digit or number code used by the NOC.
Top Most Asked Questions About the NOC
What is the NOC?
The National Occupation Classification (NOC) is Canada’s national system for defining occupations based on required skills and work experience related to them. This is based on the type of work performed, the field of study, or the industry as well as other factors such as education, training, and work experience.
Who uses the NOC?
Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) uses the NOC to evaluate an immigration applicant’s work experience as well as to identify skills shortages in the Canadian job market. Students, workers, employers, career and vocational counselors, educational and training organizations also use the NOC, almost every day.
You will need your NOC code in order to prove the work experience that you intend to claim CRS points for.
How Many NOC codes are there?
Altogether, there are about 35,000 job titles in 500 unit groups.
How do I find my NOC code?
To find your NOC code you can simply visit the government website and search the NOC matrix either by industry or keyword search, eg. job title.
For example, Margaret Chow is a registered nurse and by typing in her job title she finds two results as can be seen below:
She is also able to determine which NOC code best describes her occupation by checking matching job titles as well as her skill level and broad occupational category, which also helps to determine which immigration programs she may qualify for.
How do I prove my NOC code is correct?
Once you have found your NOC code it is important to remember that you will need to submit supporting documents to prove that the code selected matches your work experience.
How do I prove my work experience?
The most acceptable form of proof is a reference letter from each of your past employers.
What should be included in the reference letter?
This will differ from the usual; reference letter that you may need when applying for a job in your home country. Remember, this is to prove that you possess the necessary skills and work experience that matches the listed duties under your specific NOC code description. An accepted reference letter must:
- Be written on company letterhead;
- Be signed by the responsible officer/supervisor;
- Have the responsible officer/supervisor’s name and job title printed beneath the signature;
- Include the company’s contact information, and;
- If possible, have the business card of the person signing it attached
- Your official job title
- The dates of your employment
- Your salary per week
- Your average hours per week
- A detailed list of your employment duties
How do I match an NOC job with my reference letter?
The easiest way is to check the duties of your NOC and make sure that at least 75% matches those in your reference letter.
So let's check back in with Margaret’s NOC code search. To ensure that her work experience and duties listed in her reference letter match those listed in the NOC matrix, she can simply click on the “registered nurse (NOC3012)”. She will then find a list of:
- her main duties,
- employment requirements,
- exclusions (a job title that cannot claim this NOC code) as well as;
- any additional information which is usually related to special provincial or territorial or additional qualification requirements, for example, whether or not any extra training is needed.
Here, Margaret can clearly see the main duties and responsibilities that’ll be required of her and she can include them in her reference letter. This will not only increase her chances of being able to claim PR points but she will confidently be able to apply for registered nurse jobs in Canada.
How do I choose the right NOC?
Use the NOC code that matches the primary roles of the work experience you want to claim CRS points for.
Does my NOC code affect my CRS score?
No, there is no direct effect. Although your code will prove the type of work experience that you may be eligible to claim PR points for, what is most important when trying to boost your CRS score, is to increase the amount of work experience under that specific NOC code.
Which NOC codes are eligible for Express Entry?
If your job or profession has an NOC code 0, A, B, you may qualify to apply for permanent residency under one of the Express Entry programs. This includes professions such as managers, physicians, architects, and of course, registered nurses.
In Margaret's case, her skill level is A, which means that she may qualify for the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP) or the Canadian Experience Class (CEC), if she has at least one year of Canadian work experience, which both fall under the Express Entry system.
What is NOC 0, A, or B?
NOC codes 0, A, or B are reserved for workers who are regarded as “highly skilled”. This includes professions such as managers, physicians, architects, chefs, plumbers, electricians, and of course, registered nurses.
In Margaret's case, her skill level is A, which means that she may qualify for the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP), which falls under the Express Entry system.
What’s the Next Step in the Application Process?
Now that you know how to find your own NOC Code you will not only be able to determine which immigration and visa programs you qualify for but will also be able to confidently apply for jobs in Canada. The NOC code doesn’t just help Immigration Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) to evaluate your skill level and work experience. It also allows you to find out what is expected of you once you start working in Canada as well as whether you will need extra training depending on your occupation and qualifications.
Having this knowledge, however, will not guarantee success in your Canadian visa application. The application process is a complex and intricate process and just the slightest oversight could cause delays in processing times or even lead to a denied visa.
How can you improve your chances? The first step is having an evaluation done by professionals who deal with immigration and visa applications every day.
Ready to find out, in more detail, which immigration visas and programs could bring you one step closer to Canada?
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