Educational Credential Assessment
Most skilled immigrants who apply for Express Entry to Canada through the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP) will need to receive an Educational Credential Assessment (ECA) for Canadian immigration purposes.
The goal of the ECA is to confirm whether your certificate, diploma or degree received outside of Canada is valid and the equivalent of a certificate, diploma or degree earned at an educational institution in Canada.
A skilled foreign worker who attended an educational institution in Canada (for example, as an international student) and received a Canadian certificate, diploma or degree will not need to get an ECA.
If the skilled immigrant earned his or her certificate, diploma or degree outside of Canada, and is applying for the FSWP, then he or she will need to provide the ECA report and reference number when the online Express Entry profile is filed.
It is important to understand that receiving a favorable ECA can not only gain an applicant Education points for the FSWP, but also provide Education points on the Express Entry Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) score.
For example, an applicant for the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP) or the Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP), can get Education points on their CRS score for Express Entry if they receive a favorable Educational Credential Assessment.
Note: The Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP) does not have an education requirement like the FSWP does; however, it is recommended if applying for the FSTP to get an ECA, since a favorable report could lead to an increase of the CRS score for Express Entry.
In order to receive points for the FSWP Education factor or points for the Express Entry Comprehensive Ranking System, the ECA report must indicate that your certificate, diploma or degree that you completed outside of Canada is equivalent to a certificate, diploma or degree earned in Canada.
It is generally only required to receive an Educational Credential Assessment for the highest level of education that you completed.
If you hold a high school diploma and a Bachelor’s Degree completed outside of Canada, for example, you would only get the ECA for the Bachelor’s Degree.
Similarly, if you completed bachelor’s and master’s degrees outside of Canada, you would normally get the ECA for the Master’s Degree, but not for the Bachelor’s Degree.
Please note that there are situations in which it could potentially benefit a skilled immigrant to get a separate ECA for two post-secondary credentials.
In the event that your post-secondary certificate, diploma or degree completed outside of Canada is assessed as not being equal to a post-secondary certificate, diploma or degree earned in Canada, then you might get an ECA of your secondary/high school diploma, because you may still be able to get points toward the FSWP Education factor if it is assessed as equivalent to a Canadian high school diploma.
You must receive your ECA from a professional body or an organization that is approved by the Canadian immigration agency to provide Educational Credential Assessments for immigration purposes.
For example, World Education Services (WES) is approved by the Canadian immigration agency to provide the ECA for immigration purposes.
Please note that a skilled immigrant who is a general practitioner/family physician or a specialist physician is required to get the ECA from the Medical Council of Canada.
Similarly, a foreign pharmacist who needs to get licensed in Canada will have to receive an ECA from the Pharmacy Examining Board of Canada.
Having a favorable Educational Credential Assessment (ECA) is one of several eligibility requirements for Express Entry immigration to Canada through the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP).
There are, of course, several Canadian immigration programs available to skilled immigrants and their families, each of which has its own eligibility criteria and application procedure.
Since 2012, Canadian Visa Expert has been working with authorized immigration consultants who can evaluate your eligibility to apply for the FSWP or other Canadian immigration programs, plus they can guide you throughout the application process if you qualify.
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DISCLAIMER: This guide is not and shall not be considered as professional or expert advice.