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In what ways might a modification to my NOC affect my PR application?

On rare occasions, applicants for permanent residency (PR) in Canada may first submit an application under one National Occupation Classification (NOC) code, then change it at a later stage of their immigration process.

For instance, a candidate may submit an application for permanent residence in Canada via one of the 11 Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs) that are overseen by Canada or through one of the Express Entry-managed programs.

Let’s take the Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program (OINP), or PNP, as an illustration. We will specifically examine this scenario through the use of a fictitious applicant who was selected through a tech draw.

Under a tech draw, the OINP sent this candidate, Lincoln, a software engineer, a Notification of Interest* (NOI).

*Notably, Ontario refers to the invitation sent by the OINP as a “NOI,” signifying that the province is extending an invitation to the chosen candidate to make an application for a provincial nomination.

After submitting his expression of interest to the federal Express Entry pool, Lincoln was issued his NOI. Using an Enhanced PNP, the provincial government sent the candidate a notice of intent (NOI) after looking over his profile in the federal Express Entry pool. Lincoln was granted a NOI due to his compliance with the OINP tech draw specifications, which included obtaining a primary NOC code from the list of occupations that the OINP targeted.

Lincoln has until now to submit an application to the Ontario government for his provincial nomination. In order to accomplish this, he will need to give the Ontario government supporting documentation for the NOC code he claimed, such as reference letters.

To enable the province to confirm that the employment duties and responsibilities of the applicant match the NOC (Software Developers and Programmers) listed in his federal Express Entry profile, reference letters from each company should be received (NOC 21232).

Furthermore, NOC codes are five-digit numbers that are intended to “classify and categorize occupations for immigration purposes.” Discover more about the Government of Canada’s NOC 2021 system by visiting this dedicated webpage. You can also use this tool to locate your own NOC.

What happens if my NOC changes at the provincial level while I’m going through the immigration process?

The evaluation of the candidate’s supporting documentation determines whether or not the employment function and responsibilities correspond appropriately with a NOC that is included in the targeted professions list of the province or territory.

The results of this evaluation will determine what occurs next, particularly if the provincial or territory government finds that a candidate’s declared NOC is in conflict with the duties and obligations of their position.

Note: We’ll use Lincoln, our fictitious candidate, as an example again in the following.

First hypothetical scenario: Lincoln’s application listed NOC 21232 (Software Developers and Programmers). The Ontario government, however, determined that his position more closely matched NOC 21234, Web Developers and Programmers.

Hypothetical 2: The Ontario government determined that the job applicant’s work more closely matched NOC 22220, Computer Network and Web Technicians, even though his application listed NOC 21232, Software Developers and Programmers.

In the first case, despite the fact that Lincoln’s profession does not correspond with his declared NOC, his application can still be approved because the Ontario government has included his evaluated NOC in its list of targeted occupations for tech draws. In this instance, the OINP will get in touch with the client and ask for more details.

In the second situation, Lincoln will not be considered eligible for a provincial nomination through the OINP since his evaluated NOC is not on Ontario’s targeted occupations list. We will not accept his application.

If my primary NOC differs from the one I used when I first applied at the provincial level, what should I do?

Before submitting their application for a provincial nomination, candidates may decide not to proceed with their application as it will be rejected as non-eligible if they discover that their primary NOC has changed and is no longer listed as a targeted NOC.

If this NOC change is discovered after the application has been submitted, or if the application is submitted in spite of this revelation, the applicant may try to withdraw it, but they would probably forfeit the processing fees for their provincial nomination application.

Problems with the federal government’s modified NOCs

A candidate’s application for PR with the federal government may be affected by a change in NOC following the successful receipt of a provincial nomination from Ontario.

Note: Candidates whose provincial nomination is based on a NOC must continue to hold the same NOC for their principal occupation as when they first applied to the province.

Candidates for provincial nominations specific to a NOC who change their primary NOC code at the federal level risk having their application rejected for not meeting the eligibility requirements associated with their candidacy.

What’s the deal with my NOC code?

Understanding the significance of NOC codes in general can help you better grasp how an altered NOC may affect your application.

To put it briefly, NOC codes play a significant role in determining a candidate’s eligibility for the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP), the Canadian Experience Class (CEC), and the Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP) through Express Entry, Canada’s application management system.


Candidates must meet the minimum requirements for FSWP eligibility in addition to other requirements, which include at least one year of continuous, skilled, full-time or equivalent part-time employment at a paid rate in the same NOC (primary NOC).

*This work experience must fit into one of the NOC’s Training, Education, Experience, and Responsibilities (TEER) areas in order to qualify: TEER 1, TEER 2, or TEER 3


Candidates must achieve the minimum requirements for CEC eligibility, in addition to other program requirements, by having at least one year of paid, full-time or comparable part-time, skilled work experience* in Canada during the previous three years. Keep in mind that work experience obtained while enrolled in classes does not apply toward fulfilling this criterion.

*This work experience must fit into one of the following NOC TEER categories in order to be eligible: TEER 1, TEER 2, or TEER 3


Candidates must achieve the basic requirements for FSTP eligibility, in addition to other program requirements, by having at least two years of skilled work experience in specific qualified NOC groups during the last five years.

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