The 2021 National Occupational Classification was released by Statistics Canada and will likely have large ramifications for people who are planning to move to Canada in the future. The National Occupational Classification is a national reference on occupations in Canada that provides a systematic classification structure that categorizes the entire range of occupational activity in Canada. Occupational information is of critical importance for the provision of many programs and services and has a great impact on potential immigration.
The National Occupational Classification is organized by classifying workers based on broad occupational categories and skill levels into unit groups which are several occupations that are combined together. Minor revisions to the National Occupational Classification occur every year, but do not affect the distribution of unit groups. Rather, minor revisions focus on content updates like the addition of job titles to a group. However, every ten years a major revision takes place for the National Occupational Classification where there are changes to the classification such as the introduction of new unit groups and the reallocation of unit groups across skill levels and occupational categories.
The National Occupational Classification impacts immigration because potential skilled workers and temporary foreign workers need to demonstrate to the immigration authorities that their work experience is acceptable to the National Occupational Classification requirements of the program that they are applying under. For example, if a would-be immigrant wants to come to Canada through an Express Entry program, they need to show that their work experience falls under a National Occupational Classification as one of the eligibility factors. This makes the National Occupational Classification important for potential immigrants.
The first major change to the National Occupational Classification as a result of the 2021 major revision is the replacement of skill levels with Training, Education, Experience, and Responsibility categories, abbreviated as “TEER”, which is fitting because the TEER categories basically work as tiers for the National Occupational Classification. As such, the former four categories comprising the skill levels have been replaced by the six-category TEER system. Employment and Social Development Canada explains that changing skill levels to the TEER system will allow for clearer distinctions between categories and more consistent classification, as the occupations and employment requirements under the previous skill level groups were too broad. Under the 2021 National Occupational Classification, there will also be new unit groups created in areas such as data scientists and cybersecurity specialists in order to account for the evolution of the labour market.
The TEERs are numbered 0 to 5 and each one contains different requirements and a varying number of unit groups. TEER 0 is for management occupations. TEER 1 is for those who have completed a university degree or several years of experience in a specific occupation within TEER 2. TEER 2 requires completing post-secondary education at a community college, institute of technology, or CÉGEP in Quebec, or completion of an apprenticeship of two to five years. TEER 2 further includes occupations with supervisory or significant safety responsibilities such as police officers or firefighters. TEER 3 requires Completion of a post-secondary education program of fewer than two years at community college, institute of technology, or CÉGEP; or apprenticeship training of fewer than 2 years; or more than six months of on-the-job training, training courses, or specific work experience with some secondary school education. TEER 4 requires completion of secondary school and TEER 5 has no formal education requirements. Information on what specific jobs are classified within each TEER is publicly available if you are unsure as to what category a certain profession would fall under.
The impact of the National Occupational Classification on potential new immigrants who are thinking of immigrating to Canada will vary based on how the immigrants plan on gaining admission into Canada. For some immigrants, such as those who want to come via a family sponsorship the National Occupational Classification changes will have no impact. However, for those who are planning to come under an employment stream such as Express Entry, there could be large ramifications as the allocation of jobs in each TEER category varies from those of the former skill level groups. Therefore, depending on the occupation of the person applying there could be an increased, or decreased chance of being eligible because of the changes.
In the coming months, there will likely be more information released regarding the more specific impacts of the 2021 National Occupational Classification, as it is set to be adopted in the coming year. When further details are released be sure to contact Garson Immigration Law with any questions or if you need help preparing an application. If you think the changes could change your chances of coming to Canada on a work permit, or on a more permanent basis through Express Entry, be sure to give us a call.
Garson Immigration Law is a firm exclusively dedicated to the practice of immigration law. The immigration lawyers at Garson Immigration Law are continuing to monitor the immigration fallout in relation to COVID-19 on both sides of the border and will provide updates as the situation develops. If you have any questions about immigrating to Canada or about changing regulations, do not hesitate to reach out to us online or by calling us at 416-321-2860.