Definition of Skilled Worker has Changed

Carpenter By Alfred T. Palmer [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Carpenter [Public Domain]

Since the introduction of Express Entry on January 1, 2015, there is no longer a list of NOC occupations for which you can automatically apply to gain permanent residence. This means that the definition of a Skilled Worker in Canada under the Federal Skilled Workers Program has changed. If you apply under the Federal Skilled Workers Program (FSWP) you will be ranked according to 6 selection factors:

  • Your language skills
  • Your education
  • Your work experience
  • Your age
  • If you have a valid job offer
  • Your adaptability to Canadian life

Work experience is still key, of course, and to be eligible to enter a pool of candidates under Express Entry you must have skilled work experience in the following National Occupational Code (NOC) categories. Remember, these codes describe workers in similar jobs within a given occupational area. This means they are a much broader classification than the former list of occupations that is now no longer applicable:

  • Skill type 0: Management occupations: These are jobs at the top of organizational structures in any business or other organization. They involve high levels of responsibility, accountability, and expertise on the part of the manager. Because they require expertise through formal education and/or extensive work experience, management occupations are also classified as skill level A. Note that in the NOC database, the first digit for all management occupation job codes is 0.
  • Skill Level A: Occupations that require a University degree – Bachelor’s, Master’s, or PhD. Examples are engineers, physicians, nurses, and pharmacists.
  • Skill Level B: These are occupations which normally require the following:
    • 2 – 3 years of post-secondary education at a community college or institute of technology or
    • 2 – 5 years of apprenticeship training or
    • 3 – 4 years of secondary school plus more than 2 years of on-the-job training or
    • Occupation-specific training courses or specific work experience
    • Some examples of level B occupations would be police officers, fire fighters or practical nurses, as well as occupations with supervisory responsibilities.


Finding your NOC Job Code

Your next step is to make sure your occupation falls within one of the above 3 areas. Please note that the 2011 National Occupational Classification is currently being updated and the new version will be available in 2016. That means that results you may obtain at the present time may have to be re-checked next year. 

  • Go here to search your current job title and see under what classification it may fit. For example, if you are a R.N. or R.M. from India with a 4 year BSc. University degree, then you could place “registered nurse” in the search box and see what category of nursing best fits your job description. Perhaps 3012: Registered Nurses and registered psychiatric nurses would be the best fit. This would also fit under Skill level A which includes nurses with a university degree.
  • Make sure that the main duties listed match your R.N. or R.M. job duties in India.
  • Next write down the numeric 4-digit code, (3012 in this case), and job title, (registered nurses and registered psychiatric nurses).
  • Use the following chart and your 4-digit code to write down the skill level or job type:
Skill Type or Skill Level Related NOC Code
NOC Skill Type 0 Any 4-digit code beginning with 0 (e.g. 0211, Engineering Managers)
NOC Skill Type A 4-digit codes beginning with 11, 21, 30, 31, 40, 41 or 51
NOC Skill Type B 4-digit codes beginning with 12, 13, 22, 32, 42, 43, 52, 62, 63, 72, 73, 82, 92

If your 4-digit code is not shown above then your job is not currently classified as a Federal Skilled Worker. As mentioned, the NOC classifications are being updated so please check back within at most a year to see if there are any changes.


Minimum Requirements for Skilled Workers

You must meet these in order to be placed in a pool of candidates under FSWP in Express Entry. They are as follows:

  • 1 year of continuous full-time or equivalent part-time work experience, including 1,560 total hours and 30 hours per week, or 15 hours per week for 24 months. Part-time could also include a total of 30 hours per week over 1 year divided amongst more than I job. The work must be paid and it must be in the same skill type or level as your NOC code: 0, A, or B. The work experience must have occurred within the last 10 years, and you must be able to show that you have done all the essential duties listed in your NOC occupational description as well as most of the main duties listed.
  • You must meet the minimum level as defined by the Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) 7 in English. You must take a CIC-approved language test and upload the results to your Express Entry online profile to demonstrate you meet the minimum language proficiency levels.
  • You must have a Canadian secondary, or post-secondary certificate, diploma, or degree; or you must have an Educational Credential Assessment (ECA) report, done by a CIC designated assessment organization.

Having met these minimum requirements and having been placed in a pool of candidates by means of your Express Entry online profile which you must complete at the Express Entry website, you are then ranked according to the above mentioned 6 selection factors.

In addition you must show proof of funds, which means you have enough money to support yourself and your family when you arrive in Canada. You do not have to show proof of funds if the following applies:

  • You are able at the current time to legally work in Canada, and
  • You have a valid job offer from a Canadian employer.

If you are married or living in a common law relationship, and your partner is also eligible for Express Entry under the FSWP program you should consider which of the two of you is more likely to rank higher under the 6 selection factors, having met the minimum requirements. Whoever is most likely should then apply as the Principal Applicant

Finally, you must be admissible to Canada. Go here to see some of the main reasons why you may be inadmissible to Canada. They include:

  • Security reasons
  • Human rights violations
  • Serious crimes
  • Organized criminal activity
  • Health reasons
  • Misrepresentation

Note that the link is a guide only and that the final determination of admissibility to Canada will be made at your port of entry.


Ask Questions

Do you have questions? Please fill in the form.

This question is for testing whether or not you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions. is independently run and does not seek editorial input from IMMIgroup Inc. The views of the authors of content on do not reflect the views of the consultants employed by IMMIgroup Inc.

"All images on are CC licensed, public domain or the work of IMMIgroup employees. If you see your image on and it has not been CC licensed, please contact us immediately at so we can take it down."