An Educational Credential Assessment (ECA) is one of the required documents when applying for immigrating to Canada.
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Although dependent on your program of application, it is a common document required for most of Canadas’ federal economic immigration streams, which includes the Express Entry program.
What is an Educational Credentials Assessment (ECA)?
An ECA is a basic evaluation of your degree, diploma, or certificate in comparison to its level in Canadian standards of education.
Educational Credentials Assessment
As earlier insinuated, your program of migration determines if you would be needing an ECA done.
For those applicants who are eligible for the Express Entry program that falls under the Federal Skilled Worker Program, an ECA would be needed from you before your final submission to the pool.
But if your eligibility is under the Federal Skilled Trades Program or the Canadian Experience Class, you would not be needing an ECA to submit to the pool, here is the twist to it, if you want to claim any Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) points for your education, you will have to get an ECA.
If your education was obtained in Canada, you would not be needing an ECA since its sole purpose is to compare your educational level to its Canadian equivalent.
For those who possess more than one post-secondary degree, you would only be needing your highest degree assessed.
But, you could get all your credentials assessed just so you can claim as many CRS points as possible when you enter the pool.
For those individuals whose spouse, common-law or conjugal partner, is going with them and they have a degree that is post-secondary, they could also get an ECA evaluation.
While this isn’t a necessity for your Express Entry application, you would be able to claim additional CRS points using your partner’s education if they have had an ECA evaluation done.
Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) will only accept ECAs from accredited organizations. The accredited organizations from which the IRCC accepts ECA’s are:
- Comparative Education Service (University of Toronto School of Continuing Studies)
- World Education Services
- International Credential Assessment Service of Canada
- International Credential Evaluation Service
- Pharmacy Examining Board of Canada (The professional body for Pharmacists)
- Medical Council of Canada(professional body for Doctors)
- International Qualifications Assessment Service
Except our clients are Pharmacists or Doctors, we typically recommend World Education Services (WES) to our clients for their ECA as in our opinion, they are the body with the most efficient time of processing.
For our Doctor clients, the regulatory body in charge of accessing your credentials is the Medical Council of Canada and they must evaluate your primary medical degree.
As for the Pharmacist who needs a license to practice in Canada, you will be required to get your ECA from the regulatory body in charge of evaluating Pharmacists in Canada and that body is the Pharmacy Examining Board of Canada.
Irrespective of the organization you choose to work with, the process of evaluation can only commence once all the necessary documents are received by them from you or your degree issuing institution. The documents usually needed are your official transcripts and a copy of your diploma or degree.
Processing time for the evaluation process although varies from one organization to another can take several weeks to several months.
And since your ECA is one of the key documents needed to be eligible and to submit to the Express Entry pool if admitted, starting the process early and on time to beat all deadlines is in your best interest.
We recommend you make this one of the first steps if you are planning to enter the Express Entry immigration program.
An ECA validity spans five years, that start of the five years count begins on the day the applicant submits their Express Entry profile and also their date of permanent residence application after receiving the invitation to apply.
It is crucially important to keep this in mind because an ECA which was valid during the creation of your Express Entry profile but at the time of your Permanent Residence application is more than five years old might lead to complications and consequently delays in your Canada immigration plans.
How To Save Money On Your ECA
- Tip 1: Pick the ECA Application for IRCC instead of the standard option which is way more expensive.
- Tip 2: Since you would only be needing a PDF copy to apply in Canada, we recommend you engage the services of a standard courier service to save almost $80.
- Tip 3: There’s really no need sending the reports to additional reciepients as you really only need the PDF copy.
- Tip 4: We recommend having all your educational qualification evaluated at the same time, because you never know when minght be needing any. Besides most ECA issuing body charge per application and not degree. Evaluating all your degrees at once may setb you back 4 weeks, but it would save you a whole lot of money and time you might need for seperate eveluation when the need arises in the furue.
- Tip 5: Calculate your CRS score without your spouse education and if your score is high enough, you could save some money by not applying for an ECA evaluation for your spouse.