NOC Overhaul: Introducing the new TEER system

The National Occupational Classification (NOC) is Canada’s national system for describing and classifying occupations. Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) uses the NOC to determine eligibility in several programs for temporary and permanent residency. The NOC is updated every five years, with major revisions every ten years to ensure it remains reflective of the occupations in the Canadian labour market. The next revision, NOC 2021, involves extensive structural changes which will be implemented on November 16, 2022. These adjustments are crucial to IRCC's mandate to support the selection of immigrants.

The NOC 2021 Version 1.0 overhauls the "Skill Level" structure by introducing a new categorization representing the degree of Training, Education, Experience and Responsibilities (TEER) required for an occupation. These changes significantly improve how the NOC classification takes into account the distinctions in formal training and educational requirements and better reflects skill and knowledge development through on-the-job experience. The NOC 2021 Version 1.0 also introduces a new 5-digit hierarchical structure, compared to a 4-digit hierarchical structure in the previous versions of the classification.

Training, Education, Experience and Responsibility (TEER) when the second digit is…   
Management    0
Completion of a university degree (bachelor's, master's or doctorate); or Previous experience and expertise in subject matter knowledge from a related occupation found in TEER 2 (when applicable). 1
Completion of a post-secondary education program of two to three years at community college, institute of technology or CÉGEP; or Completion of an apprenticeship training program of two to five years; or Occupations with supervisory or significant safety (e.g. police officers and firefighters) responsibilities; or Several years of experience in a related occupation from TEER 3 (when applicable). 2
Completion of a post-secondary education program of less than two years at community college, institute of technology or CÉGEP; or Completion of an apprenticeship training program of less than two years; or More than six months of on-the-job training, training courses or specific work experience with some secondary school education; or Several years of experience in a related occupation from TEER 4 (when applicable). 3
Completion of secondary school; or Several weeks of on-the-job training with some secondary school education; or Experience in a related occupation from TEER 5 (when applicable). 4
Short work demonstration and no formal educational requirements. 5

NOC 2021 would replace references to NOC 2016’s Skill Types and Level groupings (0, A, B, C and D) with their corresponding Training, Education, Experience and Responsibility (TEER) categories. References to previous four-digit codes would be updated to their corresponding new five-digit code, based on NOC 2021’s new coding system. Other references to the NOC will be updated to remain consistent with NOC 2021’s new structure and the objectives of impacted programs.

The five digits of the new NOC 2021 structure refer to the following:
1. Broad Category (first digit): occupational categorization which is defined by the type of work performed, for example "occupations in education, law and social, community and government services".

2. TEER Category (second digit): necessary training, education, experience and responsibilities of the occupation, such as the completion of a university degree or previous experience.

The broad occupational categorization and the TEER categorization together (first and second digits) form the major group, e.g. "professional occupations in law, education, social, community and government services". 

3. Sub-major group (third digit): aggregation of several minor groups, for example "professional occupations in law".

4. Minor Group (fourth digit): occupational domain, like judges, lawyers and Quebec notaries.

5. Unit Group (fifth digit): most detailed level representing one or several occupations combined together within the NOC, like judges (NOC 41100) OR lawyers and Quebec notaries (NOC 41101).

What this means for applicants

These amendments apply to foreign nationals both inside and outside of Canada who wish to pursue permanent residency in Canada via Express Entry [namely the Federal Skilled Workers Program (FSW), Federal Skilled Trades Program (FST), Canadian Experience Class (CEC)], or the Atlantic Immigration Program (AIP).
The implementation of NOC 2021 will impact eligibility within Express Entry and AIP for foreign nationals in a small number of occupations; the vast majority of whom will benefit. These changes are not the purpose of the amendments, but are incidental, stemming from the movement of occupations within the NOC to align with the new TEER structure. In other words, there is no way for IRCC to implement NOC 2021 without making some changes to program criteria. The affected occupations will remain eligible for programs with broader occupational eligibility criteria (e.g., some streams of the Provincial Nominee Program).

With the transition from the "Skill Level" to the "TEER" categorization, the Canadian government attempts to balance the distribution of occupations across the "TEER categories". Since the focus of the NOC is occupations and not skills, the misleading "Skill Level" terminology is replaced by the more accurately captured differences in occupational requirements under TEER. The impact of NOC 2021 on other federal and provincial immigration programs is yet to be revealed.

Struggling to find the right NOC for your occupation? Contact us to find out and determine your eligibility to apply for permanent residence in Canada!

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