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All about NOC Codes

Posted on 18/11/2019

If you are an economic immigrant to Canada pay attention to this information. Whether you’re applying for permanent residence through Express Entry or whether you’re coming to Canada to work temporarily, your occupation is something immigration authorities always review. Whatever occupation you will be working at, or are applying to work at, it will have a code as part of what is called the:

National Occupational Classification or NOC

Your occupational code is a 4-digit number that defines your job according to:

  • Your job duties
  • The work you do as shown by your occupation category
  • The skill type or level of the occupation

There are 4 skill types,  or 4 skill levels, and 9 broad categories of occupations as is shown in the following tables:

Categories and skill levels 1: Business Finance Admin 2: Nat. & applied Sciences 3: Health 4. Education Law Social Community Government 5: Art culture recreation sport
Management occupations                                                        00
Man. Occupations skill level A 01 02 03 04 05
Skill level A University education _ _ 30 40 _
Skill level A 11 21 31 41 51
Skill level B diploma or apprenticeship 12 22 32 42 52
Skill level B 13 _ _ 43 _
Skill level C Secondary School or Occupational Training 14 _ 34 44 _
Skill level C 15 _ _ _ _
Skill level D  On-the-job training _ _ _ _ _
Skill level D _ _ _ _ _




Categories 6: Sales & Service 7: Trades Transport Equip. Operators 8: Natural Resources Agriculture 9: Manufact. Utilities
Management occupations
Man. Occupations skill level A 06 07 08 09
Skill level A University education _ _ _ _
Skill level A _ _ _ _
Skill level B diploma or apprenticeship 62 72 82 92
Skill level B 63 73 _ _
Skill level C Secondary School or Occupational Training 64 74 84 94
Skill level C 65 75 _ 95
Skill level D  On-the-job training 66 76 86 96
Skill level D 67 _ _ _


What the NOC Matrix shows is the first 2 digits of your 4-digit NOC code. Here’s what each digit means:

  • First digit = occupational category
  • Second digit = major group
  • Third digit = minor group (within a major group)
  • Fourth digit = unit group (within a minor group)

For example, let’s say your NOC code is 6411. That means

  • Your category is sales and service, or 6
  • Your major group is 64: sales representatives and salespersons, wholesale and retail trade
  • Your minor group is 641: sales and account representatives, wholesale trade (non-technical)
  • Your unit group is 6411: sales and account representatives, wholesale trade (non-technical) which includes jobs like:
  • Freight sales agent
  • Liquor sales representative
  • Graphic design sales representative

That means that NOC code 6411 is the occupational code for Sales and account representatives, wholesale trade, non-technical. If you go here, you will find a job description with your main job duties listed as well as your employment requirements.

However, there is a key point to remember. As stated by the guidelines for immigration officials, as an economic applicant you are NOT required to fulfill your employment requirements as listed in any NOC occupational code description. Here are the exact words:

Note: The applicant does not need to demonstrate that they meet the “employment requirements” listed in the NOC occupational description.

What this means is that the NOC code is only a guideline for immigration officials (as well as employers) and that they will assess your application based on your overall profile which includes your work experience, education, and language skills along with the other selection factors. So, you shouldn’t be intimated by the long list of requirements for any NOC occupational description. You should go ahead and apply if your work experience is a reasonable fit for the NOC code. Remember that the code is a tool used to help the assessment process, rather than a strict legal requirement.


Express Entry and Skilled Workers

The skill type, or level is a key feature of your NOC code if you are an economic immigrant. If you are applying through Express Entry, then you must be a skilled worker who is applying under one of the following 3 streams:

  • Federal Skilled Worker (FSW),
  • Federal Skilled Trades (FST), or
  • Canadian Experience Class (CEC)

To qualify for these streams, you must be what is called a skilled worker. That is, your skill type or level must be one of the following:

Skill type 0: management occupations as for example:

    • Restaurant manager
    • Purchasing manager
    • Sports and fitness program director

Skill level A: occupations that require a university degree, or professional occupations like:

    • Vocational instructor
    • Elementary school teacher
    • Dentist

Skill level B: occupations that require a post-secondary diploma or vocational training and are technical or specialized trades, as in:

    • Welder
    • Electrician
    • Food service supervisor

Now, take another look at the tables above. Did you notice that they’re organized by major groups (that is the 2-digit numbers that make up the NOC Matrix)?

Look for number 63 in the second table. What skill level does it have?

That’s right, skill level B.

Let’s consider our last job example above, food service supervisor.

Major group 63 is a skill level B and includes service supervisors and specialized service occupations. Minor group 631 includes service supervisors. And unit group 6311 belongs to food service supervisors. So, food service supervisor has NOC code 6311.

Again, your NOC code is a tool to assist authorities and as a skilled worker you should find the nearest equivalent to your occupation. Do not worry about fulfilling all the requirements listed in your NOC occupational description but do ensure that your NOC code is reasonably close to your actual occupation. A rule of thumb is that your current occupation should match 60% or more of the bullet points in the NOC job description.

Economic immigrants to Canada other than Express Entry

If your occupation is a skill level C or D then you will likely be a temporary worker say in agriculture, or perhaps you may have a provincial nominee program supporting you.

Skill level C involves high-school education and on-the-job training while Skill level D involves general lower-skilled workers. For example:

  • Major group 84 as you can see in the tables above is skill level C and includes workers in natural resources and agriculture.
  • Minor group 842 is logging and forestry workers.
  • Unit group 8421 is chain saw and skidder operators which is also an occupational NOC code.
  • Major group 76 includes trades helpers and construction labourers and is skill level D and is part of the construction and trades area.
  • Minor group 761 had trades helpers and labourers
  • Unit group 7611 involves construction trades helpers and labourers and is also the NOC occupational code.

It’s important to learn how to use NOC’s website and search for your occupation in the NOC occupational classification. Remember that Federal Skilled Workers are generally skill type 0 or skill level A, while Federal Skilled Trades will be skill level B.

  • Use the NOC Matrix here to guide you to the right major groups.
  • Go here for more information and remember to contact Maxcan for any questions you might have on NOC occupational codes and your application.

Posted in Tips and tagged Express Entry and Skilled Workers, Foreign workers, Job duties, National Occupational Classification

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