The National Occupational Classification (NOC) is recognized in Canada as a standardized system that allocates a four-digit code and job description to every existing occupation in the Canadian labour market.
The Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) uses the NOC matrix, otherwise specified as the NOC code, to evaluate an immigration applicant’s work experience. The system simplifies the process of finding qualified and skilled working professionals to fill jobs in Canada.
To immigrate to and find work in Canada, it is necessary to first find your NOC code, which must be included with your work experience on a work permit application or when you apply for a job. This step is essential before you apply for a job in Canada because there are economic immigration streams that are limited to applicants with experience in occupations identified by specific NOC codes.
As an applicant that wants to work in Canada, you must understand the significance and how the NOC codes work.
How to Choose Your NOC Code
To find your NOC code, you can search the NOC matrix by industry or keyword, such as your job title. Should your occupation match a specific NOC code and an NOC code listed as an exclusion, you can not claim that occupation. The code that you claim will require you to submit proof that it is accurate. This can be done by providing reference letters from any of your past employers. Ideally, for credibility purposes, it is recommended to provide a reference letter from each of your previous employers.
When looking for your NOC code, it is necessary to check that the lead statement of the code you choose matches your job description. With this, you must be able to perform or carry out all the duties as listed under the specific code. Based on the information, you can determine the one that best fits your experience. Given that the visa officer who reviews your application is trained on the NOC matrix, they are fit to decide if your occupations align with the NOC code that you choose or if it fits the criteria of another one.
As one of the most significant parts of your Canadian immigration application, no matter which visa program you apply for, note that choosing the right NOC code can result in your application being either approved or rejected. Since the visa officer who is reviewing your application will not ask you for clarification on your code, you must ensure that it matches your work experience and can be proved by submitting the correct documentation.Please note: When you choose your NOC code, your job title and education are irrelevant. Your work experience must match the lead statement, and you must meet most duties and responsibilities listed. As a result, your work experience may fall under a few different NOC codes. Your job title may also seem like it is associated with a code that does not match your experience.
NOC Skill Type and Level
For the National Occupational Classification (NOC) system, jobs are classified and grouped based on the type of job duties and work a person does.
To immigrate, the main job groups include:
1. Skill Type 0 (zero): Management jobs, including:
- Restaurant managers
- Mine managers
- Fishing captains
2. Skill Type A: Professional jobs that require a university degree, including:
3. Skill Level B: Technical jobs and skilled trades that require a college diploma or training, such as an apprenticeship, including:
- Industrial butchers
- Food and beverage servers
- Long-haul truck drivers
- Fruit pickers
- Oil field workers
- Cleaning staff
- Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP)
- Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP)
- Canadian Experience Class (CEC)
- Provincial Nominee (all skill types or levels)
- Atlantic Immigration Pilot program (Type 0 or level A, B or C), or
- Work in Canada for a maximum of two years (If you come to Canada to work temporarily, you will not be considered a permanent resident, yet you can apply to work in Canada for a longer period, which can gain your permanent residence)
- Job title
- Average working hours per week
- Dates of your employment
- List of employment duties
- Be written on a company letterhead
- Your supervisor/ official manager’s signature, name and job title (His/ her name must be printed below the signature)
- Company contact information and address
- A business card of the person signing the letter
- Official job title
- Dates of employment
- Salary per week
- Average working hours per week
- Detailed list of employment duties and responsibilities
4. Skill Level C: Intermediate jobs that require a high school and/ or job-specific training, including:
5. Skill Level D: Labour jobs that give on-the-job training, including:
Canadian immigration programs use the NOC code if you, based on your type of job and work experience, meet specific eligibility requirements. Skilled jobs have the NOC skill type 0, or level A or B, which are assessed against the 2016 version of the NOC.
To qualify for one of the Express Entry programs, the job you have and previous work that you have done must be skill type 0, or level A or B. The Express Entry system manages permanent residence applications for:
If you are a skilled immigrant, you can move to Canada with the Atlantic Immigration Pilot program, but your work experience must be skill type 0, or level A, B, or C.
Anyone that has a skill level C or D can come to Canada in the following ways:
Find My NOC Skill Type/ Level
Step 1: Enter your job title on the NOC website in the ‘job title’ tab. Click here
Step 2: Write down the numeric code (4-digit code in the Unit Group column)
Step 3: Write down the NOC title (Broad occupational column)
Step 4: Write down the NOC skill level or type (Skill level column)
Step 5: On the NOC website, click on the ‘Search by NOC code’ tab, and search for your NOC title or numeric code
You will now see the job title under the NOC code you chose, along with the job and work experience description. If this result does not match your job or work experience or align with the duties you have performed as a skilled worker, then you must find the correct NOC code.
Given the importance of choosing the right NOC code, to ensure that you choose the right one and to prevent your application from being rejected, you can get in touch with a Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant (RCIC).
If your work experience includes different industries and positions that have their own NOC codes, you will especially need guidance to choose the correct code.
How Can I Prove What My NOC Code is?
Once you have your NOC code, you must provide supporting documents in your application, with the most important being your reference letter.
You can get your reference letter from your previous employers, which will support your immigration application. This is what you will use when you are looking for jobs in Canada. It is very important because it will act as an employment verification letter.
The reference letter must include:
Please note: Your list of employment duties is the most important information on your reference letter from an employer because it is what your visa officer will mainly look at when reviewing your case. For this reason, it is in your best interest to ask for reference letters and prepare them as soon as possible, even before you start with your immigration application.
You can include supporting documents to prove that you claimed the correct NOC code. This can include a certification that the job you are applying for requires, or tax returns or pay stubs that can prove the employment dates on your reference letter(s) and salary.
If you can not get a reference letter from your current and past employers, you can still convince your visa officer that you have chosen the correct NOC code by providing as much supporting documentation as you can. In this case, you must also provide a letter that details why you can’t get a reference letter. However, it is significant to have one, as not having one can hurt your application.
Ask Yourself: The visa officer decides if your application should be approved or not. Before submitting your application, do your reference letter and supporting documents align with the NOC code that you have chosen?
What is a Reference Letter?
An immigration reference letter is not the same as a reference letter that you will submit for a job application. Once you find your NOC code, your reference letter will be required to verify that you have worked with the employer(s) that you have mentioned in your application or when applying for a job in Canada. The information in this reference letter needs to match the amount of time you have claimed to work in a specific job or with a particular job title, along with the work experience you’ve listed in your duties at the relevant employer that writes your reference letter.
Based on your reference letter, the visa officer that reviews your application can see how much work experience and the skill level you have. The quality of the reference letter is of utmost importance as it has a big impact on the outcome of your application. If for any reason, the visa officer thinks that your letter is not genuine or that it is missing information to assess its validity, they have the authority to reject your application.
Please Note: If you have held more than one position in a single company, you can try to get separate letters for every position held. Should you cover more than one position in a reference letter, be sure that the employer or manager that writes it breaks up each role and includes the duration of your employment.
Reference Letter Requirements
Before you submit your reference letter, make sure that it is formal and that all the information stipulated by the company issuing it is correct. Each letter must include:
The following information must also be included
Please Note: If any of these requirements are not provided in the reference letter, your letter may not be received well, and your application will be declined. Your list of job duties in the reference letter should also not be an exact match of the description of your NOC code, as this will also be considered ingenuine or fraudulent.