Learning Moments - Classification of Certain Occupations as Senior Managerial (NOC 00) Occupations
This article by Andrew Carvajal is part of the Immigration Education Alliance (IMEDA) weekly column titled "Learning Moments".
Hello fellow practitioners. Today’s column deals with the classification of certain occupations a senior managerial (NOC 00) occupations.
I’ve read your article about the Owner Operator LMIA and learned about NOC 00. It seems that it is difficult to characterize a position as a NOC 00 position and is not as easy as other consultants think. NOC 00 seems to be for large companies with an international presence. However, I see that some of the titles of NOC 0015 include “Cleaning service general manager” or “Laundry and dry cleaning general manager” for example.
If a client opens a small cleaning service or laundry business, will the applicant qualify for 200 points in the Express Entry CRS if they obtain an LMIA for this position?
This is an interesting question as we have heard of several instances of unsuccessful LMIA or work permit applications for senior managers because officers were of the view that the position was not senior managerial (NOC 00), but rather should be characterized as a managerial (NOC 0) occupation. In some instances, colleagues had to agree with the Service Canada officer processing an Owner Operator LMIA to re-characterize the position as a NOC 0 occupation for the LMIA to be approved.
We have also heard of instances where colleagues have faced challenges with the characterization of the position during the permanent residence stage. In those cases, IRCC officers refused to award 200 points to an offer of arranged employment because they felt that the position did not correspond to a NOC 00 occupation.
There is no easy answer to what would be accepted as a NOC 00 occupation vis-à-vis a NOC 0 occupation. While the industry and size of the business may play a role, it is certainly not determinative. In advising clients about whether a business venture could be used in support of a NOC 00 work permit or job offer, we tend to look at factors such as the company, the number of employees, how sophisticated the operations of the business are, and the role of the client as a manager within the company.
As we have discussed in previous columns, titles in the National Occupational Classification (NOC) can be informative but not determinative of the type of position. Instead, officers fixate on the lead statement of the NOC category and the main duties.
The lead statement of NOC 00 positions (except for legislators and senior government officers) normally reads: “Senior managers in this unit group plan, organize, direct, control and evaluate, through middle managers… They formulate policies which establish the direction to be taken by these companies, either alone or in conjunction with a board of directors”.
The main duties of these NOCs (except for legislators and senior government officers) are normally broad, regardless of the industry, and read:
Senior managers in this unit group perform some or all of the following duties:
Establish objectives for the company and formulate or approve policies and programs
Authorize and organize the establishment of major departments and associated senior staff positions
Allocate material, human and financial resources to implement organizational policies and programs; establish financial and administrative controls; formulate and approve promotional campaigns; and approve overall personnel planning
Select middle managers, directors or other executive staff
Co-ordinate the work of regions, divisions or departments
Represent the company, or delegate representatives to act on behalf of the company, in negotiations or other official functions.
Senior managers in this unit group may specialize in areas such as finance, marketing or human resources or in the sale of a particular product or provision of a particular service.
Looking at both the lead statement and main duties, there are some generalizations that can be drawn about what constitutes a senior managerial position (NOC 00) versus a mere managerial position (NOC 0). Senior managers normally have other managers reporting to them, not just entry-level staff. If the client’s business is one where they are the only manager and the sole supervisor of all other workers, then an argument for a senior managerial position may be more challenging. In this sense, it may be more difficult to characterize a position as senior managerial if it is a smaller business, however, this is not the only factor.
In smaller and middle-sized companies, senior managers normally report to either the President/CEO or the Board of Directors directly. If they report to the head of a department or a manager, who in turn has another manager, the position may not be of a senior managerial nature. The exception to this may be large companies that have many different levels of executives. Duties of senior managers will often include sitting on the Board of Directors of the company or preparing reports to the Board.
Senior managers handle high-level functions, including determining corporate strategy, establishing company objectives and policies, representing the business at a senior level, determining the company’s budget, amongst others. Watch out for these duties in the offer letters of senior managers. As per the NOC, they also run divisions of companies, such as finance, sales, operations, product development, legal, etc.
While meeting a median wage may not be mandatory in many cases, senior managers are well compensated because of the level of responsibility in the company and the difficult of their job. Officers may question senior managerial positions that have yearly wages below $80,000 or even $100,000, depending on the nature of the company. Similarly, employees arrive at senior managerial roles after several years in middle management positions, so officers could be suspicious of senior managerial jobs when the client is a recent graduate or quickly ascended to that position.
Inevitably, it will be difficult to characterize the owners and managers of small stores, markets, gas stations, hair salons and restaurants as senior managers given the nature of the business. These managers may be more suitable characterized as NOC 0 occupations. When the manager runs a chain of stores, markets or restaurants, then they will be managing other managers and it is possible that their position will be senior managerial.
There is no right or wrong answer as to what constitutes a NOC 00 or NOC 0 occupation. There is also not one single determinative factor that will guide officers in their decision-making. A NOC 00 classification is certainly not one that is only reserved for the largest companies or multinational businesses. However, all of the factors discussed in this column should be considered and explored with the client when assessing whether a position can be characterized as senior managerial or not.
Andrew Carvajal is a Toronto lawyer, partner and Head of Economic Immigration at Desloges Law Group. He specializes in corporate immigration, temporary permits and all types of permanent residence applications for professionals and entrepreneurs.