British Columbia Skills Immigration To Pause As It Switches To NOC 2021

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British Columbia Skills Immigration To Pause As It Switches To NOC 2021
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Registration for the British Columbia Skills Immigration (SI) category is to pause starting in mid-October as it switches to using the latest National Occupational Classification (NOC) system.

That category of programs targets skilled and semi-skilled workers in high-demand occupations in the West Coast province and is further divided into five components:

  • Skilled Workers;
  • Health Authority;
  • International Graduates;
  • International Post-Graduates, and;
  • Entry-level and semi-skilled workers.

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Known as NOC 2021, it is being rolled out by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) on Nov. 16 and moves the NOC from a four-digit number to categorize each occupation to a five-digit code. 

Within the new five-digit code, the Canadian government is breaking down the skill level of each occupation – until mid-November still called the Skill Levels – into six categories from the current four to reflect better the level of Training, Education, Experience and Responsibilities (TEER) of each job.

These TEER categories in the re-jigged NOC will replace the current Skill Levels.


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The new NOC will also rank occupational groups based on five hierarchal levels consisting of the broad occupation category; major groups; sub-major groups, minor groups; and unit groups.

The shutdown of the online registration for Skills Immigration in British Columbia will run from Oct. 12 to Nov. 16.

“The last Invitation to Apply (ITA) under the current NOC system, NOC 2016, will be issued on Oct. 12,” notes the West Coast province’s immigration department.

“Invitees will have up to 30 calendar days to submit their application. Applications will be processed using the program criteria in place at the time of application. Application processing times are anticipated to remain within the service standard of three months for 80 per cent of applications.”

Skills Immigration Applicants In Pool After Oct. 12 Will Have To Resubmit Applications

All SI registrations remaining in the registration pool after Oct 12, will be removed from the pool and applicants will need to submit new registrations once the system re-opens. 

Those who do not receive an ITA before the temporary pause is being encouraged to visit the NOC 2021 website to find the new NOC for their occupations. This will help them in preparing to submit a new registration using NOC 2021 when the registration system reopens.

During the shutdown of online registration for SI programs, the province will continue issuing ITAs for Entrepreneur Immigration. 

“Those applying under the Health Authority, International Post-Graduate and Entrepreneur Immigration categories can continue to submit applications until Nov. 13,” notes the province. “A notice will be posted advising of the system outage period and anticipated reopening timeframe.”

Once the SI online registration re-opens, a new British Columbia Provincial Nominee Program (BC PNP) Skills Immigration program guide will be posted with more details about the changes.

The IRCC was already providing guidance in early August about the new NOC for foreign nationals hoping to immigrate to Canada under the Express Entry programs.

Express Entry Applications From Nov. 16 Will Need To Include New NOC 2021 Codes

“If you plan to submit an Express Entry profile on or after Nov. 16, you must search for your occupation under the NOC 2021 list on the Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) website (and) submit your Training, Education, Experience and Responsibilities (TEER) category and five-digit occupation code when filling out your profile,” notes the federal government website.

Those who have already submitted a profile but have not been sent an ITA must:

  • search for their occupation under the NOC 2021 list on the ESDC website, and;
  • update their profile with their TEER Category and five-digit occupational code.

Those profiles must be updated on or after Nov. 16 for the applicants to remain eligible for any of the Express Entry programs, Canadian Experience Class, Federal Skilled Worker program and Federal Skilled Trades program.

Foreign nationals looking for their NOC code for a job only need to go to the search page of the NOC website and search using their job title. After selecting the closest match on the list that is generated, it is important to make sure the main duties listed match those of the job.

When those duties don’t match up, users are advised to a different job title with duties that more closely match theirs.

After writing down the numeric code and job title, 72302 Gas fitters, note the TEER category.

The new NOC is being phased in gradually “to provide organizations and programs with enough time to make a proper transition from NOC 2016 to NOC 2021.”

A nationally-recognized and standardized system used by the IRCC to evaluate the work experience of applicants for immigration, the choice of the right NOC code is one of the most important parts of an application for immigration.

Every province and territory in Canada use the NOC to identify jobs that need to be filled by immigration programs. 

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