On November 6, 2023, there was an administrative update made by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (“IRCC”) that removed National Occupation Classification (“NOC”) code 73300 for truck drivers from the list of occupations eligible for a certificate of qualification. As a result of this update, truck drivers are no longer eligible for the 50 additional points available to those with a certificate of qualification under the Express Entry Permanent Residence (“PR”) Comprehensive Ranking System (“CRS”).
A certificate of qualification is a document that proves an individual is eligible to work in a specific trade in Canada, and is based on passing a certification exam. Typically, the regulating organization in charge of the occupation in a province or territory, or a federal agency, issues the certificate of qualification.
Certificates of qualification have historically been available for a specific list of trades occupations. Unfortunately, IRCC has now determined that truck drivers “do not have a certificate of qualification-equivalent certification that some other tradespeople have,” such as carpenters, welders, etc., and as a result they were removed from the list of occupations eligible for a certificate of qualification.
This update may be a disappointment to some truck drivers currently waiting to apply for PR in Canada; however, while obtaining a certificate of qualification has historically increased a truck driver’s chances of being invited to apply under Express Entry, the certificate has never been a requirement for truck drivers to obtain PR in Canada. Therefore, their eligibility for PR in Canada remains the same.
Those with experience under NOC 73300 remain eligible for invitations to apply under the Express Entry PR programs, as long as their overall CRS points score is high enough to be issued an invitation to apply, which will depend on the minimum score required for each draw. The minimum score required for each draw fluctuates, and is dependent on how many profiles are in the pool of applicants, what their scores are, and how many invitations IRCC has to issue on that date.
Further, since June 2023, IRCC has started conducting occupation specific draws under Express Entry, including draws for “Transport Occupations,” which includes NOC 73300. Therefore, while it may be more difficult for some truck drivers to obtain PR in Canada via Express Entry due to a lower CRS score, it may not affect other’s chances at all. It truly depends on each individual’s Express Entry CRS points in the other categories. The other CRS points categories include: age, education, Canadian work experience, French/English language abilities, foreign work experience and whether they have a valid “Job Offer” in Canada. Over time, those with lower CRS points scores may be able to increase their score by retaking the requisite language test(s) to achieve higher language test scores, and/or continuing to work in Canada as a temporary foreign worker to obtain more Canadian work experience.
We strongly recommend that any truck drivers who currently have a profile in the Express Entry pool, which states that they have a certificate of qualification, update their profile as soon as possible to indicate they do NOT have a certificate of qualification. If they do not update their profiles as soon as possible, they may be invited to apply with the certificate of qualification points, but their invitation may not be valid if their Express Entry score drops below the minimum points threshold required for that particular draw once the 50 points are taken away.