WHAT IS AN ECA ?
The documents that you need to provide when you’re applying to immigrate to Canada depend on the program you’re applying to. However, a common document that is required for most federal economic immigration streams, including Express Entry, is an Educational Credential Assessment or ECA.
An Educational Credential Assessment (ECA) is an assessment of your degree, diploma, or certificate compared to Canadian standards of education.
EDUCATIONAL CREDENTIALS ASSESSMENT
If you’re eligible for Express Entry under the Federal Skilled Worker Program, you’ll need an ECA before you can submit to the pool. If you’re eligible under the Federal Skilled Trades Program or Canadian Experience Class, you don’t need an ECA to submit to the pool, but you will need one if you want to claim any Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) points for your education.
Since an ECA compares your education to its Canadian equivalent, you don’t need an ECA for any education you obtained in Canada. If you have more than one post-secondary degree, you usually only need to have your highest degree assessed. However, you might want to get all of your credentials assessed to claim as many CRS points as possible once you’re in the pool.
If your spouse, or common-law or conjugal partner, is accompanying you and has a post-secondary degree, they can also get an ECA. While it isn’t required to submit to Express Entry, you may be able to claim additional CRS points for your spouse or partner’s education if they have an ECA. IRCC will only accept ECAs from designated organizations:
Comparative Education Service – University of Toronto School of Continuing Studies
Medical Council of Canada (professional body for Doctors)
Pharmacy Examining Board of Canada (professional body for Pharmacists)
Unless they’re Doctors or Pharmacists, we usually recommend our clients use World Education Services (WES) for their ECA as they have the most efficient processing time. If you’re a Doctor, the Medical Council of Canada must evaluate your primary medical diploma. If you’re a Pharmacist and need a license to practice, you need to get your ECA from the Pharmacy Examining Board of Canada. Whichever organization you choose, the evaluation process can only begin once they receive the necessary documents from you or your school. They’ll need your official transcripts, and usually a copy of your diploma or degree.
The evaluation process itself can also take several weeks to several months. Since you need an ECA to be eligible to submit to the Express Entry pool if you’re applying as a skilled worker, getting started on your ECA is usually one of the first steps of your Express Entry immigration process.
HOW TO SAVE MONEY ON YOUR ECA
Tip 1: Select the ECA Application for IRCC rather than the standard option which is more expensive.
Tip 2: Use standard courier service to save nearly $80 since you only need the PDF to apply to Canada which is given to you once the report is complete.
Tip 3: Don’t bother sending the report to additional recipients since you only need the PDF.
Tip 4: Evaluate all your higher education at the same time. Most ECA issuing institutions charge per application and not degree. Getting multiple degrees done in the same application saves time and money.
Tip 5: Your spouse may not require the ECA report. You can calculate your CRS score with and without the points for your spouse’s degree. If your points are high enough, you can omit this application.