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Express Entry: Does my work experience impact my CRS score?

Applicants interested in immigrating to Canada through one of the three Express Entry programs should familiarize themselves with the factors that impact their CRS (Comprehensive Ranking System) score.

However, it is worth remembering that the CRS only considers the National Occupation Classification 2021 (NOC 2021) code assigned to a candidate’s work experience if they have secured employment in Canada.

NOC codes still matter in Express Entry, especially for category-based draws and Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs). The NOC code can significantly help your quest towards Canadian citizenship if you understand how Express Entry works.

If you understand how Express Entry works and leverage your NOC code effectively, you can be a Canadian in no time.

Getting started with CRS scores

Candidates for the Express Entry programs are evaluated based on their CRS scores, which are part of the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS). Getting an invite to apply for permanent residence in Canada is primarily determined by these scores.

The federal government uses the CRS scores to rank candidates for the Canadian Experience Class (CEC), Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP), and Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP). The government compares scores from these three programs before it issues invitations or does Express Entry draws.

CRS scores are a deciding factor in Express Entry draws. Candidates with a CRS score above the cut-off score for a particular draw get invitations to apply for permanent residence. However, Express Entry category-based draws work differently, so it’s important to note this is only sometimes the case.

To summarize, CRS scores are a crucial part of Express Entry. They rank candidates and figure out if they’re eligible for permanent residency. If you’re considering immigrating to Canada through Express Entry, you should understand CRS scores.

What are NOC codes?

The National Occupational Classification codes, also called NOC codes, are used in Canada to classify and describe jobs based on their primary duties, educational requirements, and other factors. Each occupation is assigned a unique five-digit NOC code to help categorize it. These codes play a crucial role in organizing and understanding the various job roles in the country.

NoCs provide a standardized framework for communicating and analyzing employment data to help employers, job seekers, and policymakers. Each occupation gets its code, so you can compare and contrast different job roles, identify skill requirements, and track labor market trends.

Both employers and job seekers need to know NOC codes. Employers can use these codes to accurately describe job requirements and responsibilities so potential candidates know what to expect. On the other hand, job seekers can use NOC codes to find relevant job opportunities and see if they qualify.

Nominal Operating Codes (NOC) and Standard Express Entry Draws

NOCs play a significant role in Standard Express Entry draws for Canadian Permanent Residency (PR). A NOC can significantly affect a candidate’s chances of getting an Invitation to Apply (ITA). A candidate with “Arranged Employment” who is eligible for the Additional Points section of the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) can earn 50 or 200 CRS points.

Candidates who secure a job offer before coming to Canada, known as arranged employment, in an occupation falling under Major Group 00* of the NOC 2021 will receive a substantial boost of 200 additional points towards their CRS score. On the other hand, candidates with qualifying job offers in occupations classified under NOC TEER 0 (other than Major Group 00), 1, 2, or 3 will receive 50 additional CRS points.

The number of CRS points a candidate gets based on their NOC can impact their chances of getting into Express Entry. Through Express Entry, these extra points can make a huge difference in a candidate’s chances of getting a Canadian Permanent Residency.

“Senior Management” occupations fall under Major Group 00 of the NOC. Members of this group include legislators, senior government officials, and senior managers in various industries, including finance, communications, health, broadcasting, construction, and transportation.

Nominal Entry Codes and Category-Based Draws

The government prioritizes people with recent experience in high-demand industries (and speak French) by categorizing applicants. The Canadian labor market will benefit from candidates who are experienced in these areas.

As of 2023, Canada focuses on five occupational categories: healthcare, science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), transportation, trades, and agriculture/agriculture.

There are five in-demand categories, each with its own NOC codes. This factors into category-based draws. As a result, immigrants with recent work experience in an occupation under a specific NOC code may also qualify for category-based draws in addition to Express Entry.

In the following table are examples (alongside the NOC code) of occupations that qualify under each Express Entry category in 2023:

  • Health: Dentists (NOC: 31110); Massage Therapists (NOC: 32201)
  • Engineering Managers (NOC: 200010); Architects (NOC: 21200);
  • Transportation: Truck Drivers (NOC: 73300)
  • Installation and service workers (NOC: 73200)
  • Retail and Wholesale Butchers (NOC: 63201)

Program of provincial nominations and NOC codes

An immigration candidate’s NOC is valuable based on their work experience since different provinces have different labor market gaps that their local Provincial Nominee Programs need to address. Therefore, if a candidate’s work history falls under a certain NOC, they are more likely to be considered by a province or territory seeking skilled workers with specific work histories and skill sets.

What Canada’s PNPs are all about?

A PNP is a provincial/territorial immigration program that operates across all of Canada’s provinces and territories, with the exception of Quebec and Nunavut. It helps each region identify foreign nationals who will be most helpful in addressing local economic and labor market issues.

It should be noted that the PNPs represent the largest supply of immigrants among all economic-class immigration programs across the country.

Therefore, PNPs enable local governments in each participating province or territory to select specific immigrants and offer them permanent residence. This maneuver, again, aims to choose the immigration candidates most likely to assist in addressing the most potent labor market gaps in a specific region across this country and entice them to settle in that region by offering them permanent residence.

PNPs operate several individual streams that cater to foreign nationals with various professional backgrounds, and each province and territory is broken down by province.

Three provinces, excluding Quebec, are the most popular destinations for new Canadians in 2022, including streams for professionals in a wide range of fields:

  • Employer Job Offer: In-Demand Skills Stream for Nurse Aides, Transport Truck Drivers, Construction Trades Helpers/Labourers in Ontario.
  • Health Professionals (Skills Immigration: Healthcare Professional Category): Nurses, Physicians, Psychiatric Nurses.
  • Alberta: Farm Workers (Alberta Farm Stream)