A crucial part of the Express Entry process is identifying your NOC correctly.
The immigration officer reviewing your application is not responsible for helping you choose the correct NOC code. If you do not choose the correct NOC code for your experience, your application may be refused.
How to correctly identify your NOC
There are two methods that will allow you to identify the correct NOC for your occupation:
Method 1 - Search by job title
1. Start by visiting the NOC search page. Once there, make sure you are searching by job title and that the latest version is selected (currently NOC 2016). Enter the name of your job (i.e. mechanical engineer) in the search field and click on "Search".
2. The search results page will return a listing of occupation titles and their corresponding NOC codes.
3. Clicking on one of the NOCs (i.e. Mechanical Engineers NOC 2132 in our example) brings you to a page that explains the occupation in greater detail, with information on job requirements, example job titles that fall under the NOC and the main duties associated with the NOC.
4. To identify if the NOC corresponds to your occupation, focus on the lead statement and duties sections of the page. Does the description apply to you? Are the duties similar to the ones you hold? The Canadian government will examine the duties of your job against the two sections mentioned.
5. If the lead statement and duties do not accurately describe your job, go back to step 3 and click on a different NOC or search for a different job title altogether.
Method 2 - Search the NOC Matrix
2. Once there, you will see 9 sectors of activities listed (i.e. management, health occupations, trades etc.). The sectors are broad occupational categories that represent the first digit of the four-digit NOC code. Consider the sector of activity that your job falls in.
3. Clicking on one of the main sectors will expand into a sub list representing the second digit of the four-digit NOC code, which is based on the level of education or skill-level required to be employed in the occupation. Consider the list and try to narrow it down further. If more than a single option may apply, note both down.
4. Clicking on any of the options in the sub list will further expand into a list of NOC minor groups representing the third digit of the four-digit NOC code.
5. Once you have identified one or multiple minor groups that may apply to you, take note of all the unit groups included under each. The unit groups represent the final digit of the NOC code. By clicking on a unit group, you will see a description of the unit group, as well as a link to "View the occupational profile".
6. To identify if the NOC corresponds to your occupation, focus on the lead statement and duties sections of the page. Does the description apply to you? Are the duties similar to the ones you hold? The Canadian government will examine the duties of your job against the two sections mentioned.
7. If the lead statement and duties do not accurately describe your job, consider a different NOC unit group (step 5) or minor group (step 4) until you are satisfied that you have found the NOC that best corresponds to your job.
Do not base your NOC code search on example job titles.
The point of this exercise is to identify the NOC that most closely matches your occupation.
When checking a particular NOC code, make sure to focus on job duties and try to find the NOC that is most comparable to the work you are currently doing or have done in the past
Only skill type/level 0, A, or B occupations are considered for Express Entry.
If your occupation is skill level C or D, you are unfortunately not eligible for Express Entry.
Do you have a spouse or common-law partner? If you do, consider whether they would make a better principal applicant. Only one of you can be the principal applicant for your case.
Do you have any other work experience that you did not believe was “skilled enough”, but is in fact considered skilled according to the National Occupational Classification (NOC) system?
Other than obtaining work experience in an 0, A, B occupation (which is recommended for the purposes of immigrating to Canada), there may be alternative options available to you if your occupation is level C or D:
Once you have identified your NOC code(s), write it down and keep it somewhere safe (along with any other notes you wish to take) because you will have to refer to this information later.