Canada lures more skilled workers through Express Entry mode

Ottawa, Ontario

Job classification list adds 16 occupations to address labour shortage, economic security concerns

By Charmaine Y. Rodriguez

The Canadian Government is working to welcome more newcomers who bring the skills its economy needs to help address acute labour shortages across the country.

Sean Fraser, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, announced the implementation of the National Occupational Classification (NOC) 2021 for immigration programs managed under the Express Entry system. 

Using the new NOC categories will allow Canada to bring in global talent in high-demand sectors like health care, construction, and transportation, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) said in a statement.

Nurse aides, long-term care aides, hospital attendants, elementary and secondary school teacher assistants, and transport truck drivers are examples of some of the 16 occupations now included in Express Entry.

The NOC system is used to track and categorize all jobs in the Canadian labour market and is updated to reflect changes in the economy and in the nature of work, the statement added. 

The changes to the NOC system support the Fraser’s commitment to expand pathways to permanent residency (PR) for temporary workers and international students, as more jobs will become eligible for the programs managed under the Express Entry. 

Through this update, 16 occupations that were not previously eligible can now benefit from expanded pathways to permanent residency.

16 newly eligible occupations:

  • Payroll administrators
  • Dental assistants and dental laboratory assistants
  • Nurse aides, orderlies, and patient service associates
  • Pharmacy technical assistants and pharmacy assistants
  • Elementary and secondary school teacher assistants
  • Sheriffs and bailiffs
  • Correctional service officers
  • By-law enforcement and other regulatory officers
  • Estheticians, electrologists and related occupations
  • Residential and commercial installers and servicers
  • Pest controllers and fumigators
  • Other repairers and servicers
  • Transport truck drivers
  • Bus drivers, subway operators and other transit operators
  • Heavy equipment operators
  • Aircraft assemblers and aircraft assembly inspectors
A heavy equipment operator will now be eligible to apply for immigration programs in Canada and eventually become a Permanent Resident. (Pexels photo/Serena Koi)

“We are using all of the tools at our disposal to tackle labour shortages, particularly in key sectors like health care, construction, and transportation. These changes will support Canadians in need of these services, and they will support employers by providing them with a more robust workforce who we can depend on to drive our economy forward into a prosperous future. I’m thrilled to announce expanded pathways to permanent residence in Canada for these in-demand workers,” Fraser said. 

“NOC 2021 is welcome news for Canadian employers, for newcomers to Canada ready to take on the jobs they are qualified for, and for a newly eligible group of workers who will now have an Express Entry path to permanent residency available to them. With these changes, we are better positioned to tackle labour shortages proactively and grow our economy with a stronger, skilled workforce,” said Carla Qualtrough, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion.

The labour sector welcomed the changes and said this will ease the shortage of workers and secure supply chains. 

“The Canadian Support Workers Association (CANSWA) applauds this move to help ease the shortage of personal support workers in our health care system. Personal support workers provide the majority of the bedside nursing care to vulnerable Canadians across our nation and are in desperate need of assistance to ensure that basic patient care can be delivered. The CANSWA and our members welcome the help from these new Canadians and hope they find a rewarding new life in their new home,” said Miranda Ferrier, CEO Canadian Support Workers Association.

“Every sector of the Canadian economy relies on the trucking industry. Today’s announcement by Minister Fraser will help secure supply chains—from agriculture to manufacturing—by providing trucking companies access to an international workforce that was not previously available to our sector,” Stephen Laskowski, President of Canadian Trucking Alliance, also added. 

With the change, IRCC transitioned to the 2021 NOC system starting November 16, 2022. The change has been in the works since the announcement on July 27, according to a report.

The changes will cause shifts in eligibility for some of Canada’s immigration programs, especially Express Entry. 

Express Entry is the application management system for three Canadian immigration programs: the Canadian Experience Class (CEC), the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP) and the Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP). Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) candidates in the Express Entry pool are already eligible for at least one of these programs, also reported.

Express Entry uses a points-based system, called the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS), to rank candidates’ profiles. The top-scoring candidates receive an Invitation to Apply (ITA) and can then apply for permanent residency.

After the candidate applies, an IRCC officer reviews the application and decides if they are approved, giving the candidate a permanent resident status, which is one step closer to becoming a Canadian citizen.

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