National occupational classification (NOC) is Canada’s system describing and classifying occupations, and it is crucial for collecting and analyzing labour market information. The NOC system contains about 30,000 job titles which are grouped under occupations and then divided into groups, organized by skill level requirements as shown on the example below:

The system is primarily used for statistical purposes – for example labour market analysis, skills development and occupational forecasting. Importantly, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) works with the NOC system to determine eligibility for some temporary and permanent residence Canadian immigration programs.

The NOC system is updated regularly and revised every decade. The current NOC 2016 will be replaced with NOC 2021 version later this year.

NOC Structure

The NOC 2016 recognizes four category Skill Levels and 10 Broad Occupational Categories as the classification criteria.

The new NOC 2021 will replace the current four Skill Level categories by dividing occupations into six categories, based on Training, Education, Experience and Responsibilities required for occupations – TEER. The 10 Broad Occupational Categories remain in the classification criteria but are revised and restructured.

What do we know about the impact of the new NOC 2021 Structure on the Immigration Programs so far?

The new structure fragments the occupations into 6 categories, especially affecting the current NOC Skill Level B group – the largest occupation group. The occupations from NOC Skill Level B Group will be mainly divided into TEER Categories 2 and 3.

This fragmentation better reflects the training and education required for occupations, and brings more clarity for the stakeholders of the skills required for each occupation.

Canadian Permanent Residence applicants will be affected by this change, as it impacts eligibility of some occupations in the Express Entry system and Provincial Nominee Programs (PNP).

The eligibility cut-off for Express Entry Programs (Canadian Experience Class, Federal Skilled Worker and Federal Skilled Trades) is going to shift from NOC B and above, to TEER 3 and above.

Some occupations become eligible in the Express Entry permanent residence system as they will newly make it through the cut off (TEER 3 and above):

On the other hand, the following three occupations will become ineligible for the Express Entry system:


IRCC is required to use the new NOC 2021 system from November 2022. At this moment, there are no further instructions about the system implementation and upcoming eligibility changes.

Statistics Canada NOC Comparison Tool

StatCan published a correspondence table where you can compare the NOC 2016 and NOC 2021 categories.

We will follow this topic and bring you updates once they become available.

Published 2022-06-16

Would you like to learn more about Express Entry? Read our article “Express Entry – What Is It? How Do I Get Some?”