What is an NOC Code?

A common question is, “What is an NOC code?”. The National Occupational Classification (NOC) is a nationally recognized and standardized system that assigns a four-digit code and job description to every occupation in the Canadian labour market. 

When you are asked on your immigration application to identify your work, you’ll need to do so by indicating the NOC code that best fits your experience. There are certain Canadian immigration programs that are limited to applicants with experience in occupations with specific NOC codes.

Most of Canada’s economic immigration programs, including the Express Entry linked programs use the NOC system. This is why it’s so important to understand NOC codes and how it works, as this will only help your success as an applicant.

How Do NOC Codes Work?

What is a NOC Code?

Every NOC code has an associated job title, lead statement, and list of major duties and responsibilities. When it comes to Canadian immigration and determining your NOC code, your job title is not as important as your work experience, which needs to match the lead statement. You should have performed most of the duties and responsibilities listed. This means that your work experience could fall under several different NOC codes and your job title may be under an NOC code that doesn’t actually match your experience. Knowing this is important to your application as choosing the incorrect code could have your application refused.

The NOC occupations are arranged by skill type and skill level. Generally, the skill type is the first digit of the code and the skill level by the second digit. When an immigration program refers to occupations as high-skilled or low-skilled, they are referring to the second digit of the NOC code.

NOC Skill Types

The NOC Skill Type identifies the industry of the occupation. There are 10 Skill Types in the NOC matrix:

  • 0 – Management occupations
  • 1 – Business, finance, and administration occupations
  • 2 – Natural and applied sciences and related occupations
  • 3 – Health occupations
  • 4 – Occupations in education, law and social, community and government services
  • 5 – Occupations in art, culture, recreation and sport
  • 6 – Sales and service occupations
  • 7 – Trades, transport and equipment operators and related occupations
  • 8 – Natural resources, agriculture and related production occupations
  • 9 – Occupations in manufacturing and utilities The first digit of most NOC codes identifies the Skill Type of the occupation.

NOC Skill Levels

There are four skill levels in the NOC matrix, they identify occupations by the amount and type of education and training that would be needed to perform the duties of a certain occupation. The skill level assigned to an occupation also depends on how complicated the job duties are:

  • A: Occupations that usually require university education
  • B: Occupations that usually require college education or apprenticeship training
  • C: Occupations that usually require secondary school and/or occupation-specific training
  • D: Occupations that usually require on-the-job training

There is an exception to the above rule when it comes to management occupations. Since there are management positions in all industries, the second digit of all management jobs indicates the industry of the occupation.

High-skilled and low-skilled work

For the purpose of immigration:

  • Skill Level A or B, or Skill Type 0 is considered high-skilled work.
  • Skill Level C or D is considered low-skilled work.

  • There are a few immigration programs that may refer to semi-skilled work, which includes all occupations classified as NOC Skill Level A, B, or C, or in Skill Type 0.

    Example: An information systems manager would be classified as NOC code 0213. The first digit, 0, shows that it’s a management position. The second digit, 2, shows it as a position in the national and applied sciences industry.

    Major and Minor Groups

    There will be times where immigration programs will refer to NOC Major or Groups.

    1. Major Groups: this refers to the first two digits of an NOC code together.
    2. Minor Groups: this refers to the first three digits or an NOC code.

    Finding Your NOC Code

    Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has created a tool that makes finding your NOC code faster and easier. You can search your NOC code on the tool by using words that are in your job title and related to your main duties to find a suitable match.

    Now that you know the answer to the question “What is an NOC code?” the next thing to do is visit this page to learn more on how to find your NOC job title code and skill type.

    The Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultants (RCICs) we work with are experts in Canadian immigration and can assist you in choosing the correct NOC code for your work experience.

    Click on the link below to start your journey!

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