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Impact of NOC Job Code Changes in Your PR Application: Key Considerations

Updated: May 2

At times, individuals applying for permanent residence (PR) in Canada may initially select one National Occupation Classification (NOC) code but later decide to switch to a different NOC code during their immigration process.

For instance, an applicant might initially apply for PR in Canada through one of the Express Entry-managed programs and later receive an invitation to pursue PR via one of the Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs), such as the Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program (OINP) in Ontario.

Consider a hypothetical candidate named Peter, who is a software developer. Peter was issued a Notification of Interest* (NOI) from the OINP as part of a tech draw.

The term "NOI" refers to the invitation issued by the OINP, indicating that the province is inviting the selected candidate to submit their application for a provincial nomination.

After submitting his expression of interest to the federal Express Entry pool, Peter received his NOI. The provincial government reviewed his profile in the Express Entry federal pool and issued him an NOI via an Enhanced PNP because he met the specific requirements of the OINP tech draw, including having a primary NOC code from the list of OINP-targeted occupations.

At this point, Peter is eligible to apply for his provincial nomination with the Ontario government. To do so, he needs to provide supporting documents, such as reference letters, to the Ontario government, supporting the NOC code he claimed.

These reference letters should be obtained from each employer, allowing the province to verify that his job duties and responsibilities align with the NOC indicated in his federal Express Entry profile, which in Peter's case is Software Developers and Programmers (NOC 21232).

NOC codes are five-digit numbers used to categorize and classify occupations for immigration purposes. You can learn more about the Government of Canada's NOC 2021 system on their dedicated webpage and use their tool to find your own NOC.

What happens if my NOC changes during the immigration process at the provincial level?

If a candidate's primary NOC changes during the provincial immigration process, it can have various outcomes depending on the assessment by the provincial or territorial government.

In one scenario, let's consider this. Initially, Peter claimed NOC 21232 (Software Developers and Programmers) on his application, but the Ontario government assessed his job as more closely aligning with NOC 21234 (Web Developers and Programmers). In this case, although Peter's stated NOC doesn't match his assessed one, his application may still proceed because his assessed NOC is on Ontario's list of targeted occupations for tech draws. However, the Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program (OINP) would contact Peter for additional clarifications.

In another scenario, if Peter's assessed NOC is not on Ontario's targeted occupations list, he would be considered ineligible for provincial nomination through the OINP, and his application would be refused. If candidates realize that their primary NOC has changed before submitting their application for provincial nomination and it's not listed as a targeted NOC, they may choose not to proceed, knowing their application would be refused. Those who submit despite realizing the NOC change, or those who only realize it after submission, may attempt to withdraw their application but might lose the processing fees paid.

What are the Federal Implications of NOC Changes?

Regarding federal implications, after receiving a provincial nomination, changing the NOC may impact the candidate's PR application with the federal government. Candidates with an NOC-specific provincial nomination must maintain the same NOC's specific jobs and duties as their primary occupation initially applied to the province. Changing the primary NOC code at the federal stage may result in application refusal due to non-compliance with the provincial nomination eligibility criteria.

Why are NOC Codes Important in the Immigration Process?

Understanding why NOC codes matter is crucial. They are integral to a candidate's eligibility for Express Entry, Canada's application management system for economic immigration programs like the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP), Canadian Experience Class (CEC), and Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP)- each program has specific requirements related to NOC codes, emphasizing the importance of accurate NOC representation throughout the immigration process.

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