Canada, a country known for its welcoming immigration policies and diverse opportunities, has always been a preferred destination for individuals seeking to settle on a permanent basis. However, in order to achieve the same, they need to navigate through a complex process of requirements and procedures. If you are also planning to migrate to the Land of Maple Leaf, and preparing yourself for the Express Entry Visa process or any other immigration procedure listed on the IRCC website, you must have come across a term called the Educational Credential Assessment (ECA).

While in our previous article, we shared with you everything about the Express Entry route to acquire Canadian Citizenship, in this article, we will explain to you one key documentation requirement within the Express Entry Visa program, which needs to be fulfilled during the permanent residency application.

What is an Educational Credential Assessment (ECA)?

An Educational Credential Assessment (ECA) is an important document that verifies your academic qualifications acquired outside Canada. It plays a vital role in determining the Canadian equivalence of foreign educational credentials, and thus its significance cannot be neglected. It is to be noted that the prime motive that this document serves is whether the international credential obtained by an applicant is equivalent to Canadian standards or not.

Whether you're considering the Provincial Nominee Program (PNP), the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP), or the Express Entry system, understanding the role of the ECA is essential to start your Canadian immigration journey fully informed.

Visit the link to learn more –

Are you required to apply for an Educational Credential Assessment (ECA)?

If you are applying for certain federal and provincial skilled worker immigration processes, then you will need to apply for an Educational Credential Assessment (ECA).

For example, under the Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) streams that provide an immigration route to skilled immigrants from abroad, one needs to submit an ECA document for academic credentials evaluation.

Know all about the Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) scheme –

Moreover, you need to know that different federal pathways have their own rules for evaluating foreign qualifications. To make sure you're on the right track, carefully check the requirements of the federal or provincial program you want to apply for to see if you need to get an educational credential assessment (ECA).

Does the Express Entry Program require an Educational Credential Assessment (ECA)?

As you all must be aware by now the Express Entry Program for Canada has three different routes i.e., the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP), the Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP), and the Canadian Experience Class (CEC).

Out of the aforementioned three routes, if you are a candidate looking ahead to apply under the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP), you are then needed to submit an Educational Credential Assessment (ECA) for evaluation of your academic qualifications in line with Canadian educational frameworks, by the immigration authorities. This needs to be done before you can enter the pool of applicants for Express Entry.

However, you do not need to submit this requirement, if your educational qualification was achieved from a higher education institution within Canada itself.

Also please note that in the case of both, the Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP) and the Canadian Experience Class (CEC), candidates are not necessarily required to undertake an Educational Credential Evaluation request.

However, if you aim to earn points for your foreign educational credentials using the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS), you'll need an Educational Credential Assessment (ECA). A stronger CRS score can significantly increase your chances of being selected from the candidate pool.

Moreover, kindly note that if your spouse or common-law partner also wishes to attain and claim the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) points towards their application for any of the immigration streams managed under the Express Entry Program, then they should also apply for an Educational Credential Assessment (ECA). Although this is not a mandatory condition under the program for an accompanying spouse or partner, it assures that your spouse or partner achieves additional CRS points toward their immigration application.

Also, note that any candidate or his/her spouse or partner, if required, needs to acquire an ECA for every single credential that they wish to claim CRS points. If you have more than one academic qualification post-high school, you may achieve a higher CRS Score as compared to when you have only a single academic qualification.

Know more about who requires an ECA for Express Entry program by visiting the below link –

How can you request an Educational Credential Assessment?

If you are looking forward to applying for a Canadian Immigration Application and wish to obtain an ECA report, you need to submit the required documents to an organization that conducts such an assessment and is also authorized by the Canadian Immigration Authorities i.e., the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).

Please note that the required documents for conducting an Educational Credential Assessment may include academic transcripts and degree/diploma certificates. The following organizations are authorized by IRCC to provide ECA reports:

1.     World Education Services

2.     Comparative Education Service at the University of Toronto School of Continuing Studies

3.     International Credential Assessment Service of Canada

4.     International Qualifications Assessment Service

5.     International Credential Evaluation Service

6.     Medical Council of Canada (for Clinical and laboratory medicine specialists, Surgical specialists, or General practitioners or family physicians)

7.     Pharmacy Examining Board of Canada (for Pharmacists)

Here are some other important things to remember:

The ECA report should be issued after IRCC authorizes the service.

The ECA report should not be older than five years when you submit your Express Entry profile and permanent residence application to IRCC.

Know more about the requirements by visiting the link below –

Interpreting your Educational Credential Assessment Report

Once you receive an ECA report, please make sure that it reflects that your foreign educational qualifications are legitimate and in line with the Canadian educational frameworks. If the aforementioned holds true, please be sure to include the result and reference number in your Express Entry profile to acquire additional points.

However, if your report indicates that your qualification doesn't measure up to a Canadian credential or if the foreign school you attended is not officially recognized:

•       You won't fulfill the education criteria for the Federal Skilled Workers Program.

•       You won't earn any points for it.

You can match your ECA report results with a possible set of ranking points either within the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) or the Federal Skilled Worker Program factor points.

To make this comparison, please visit the link below –

Thus, to conclude, it can easily be seen that an Educational Credential Assessment (ECA) is a key document required by the Canadian Immigration Authorities in support of a candidate’s immigration application. While its primary purpose is to determine the equivalence of foreign educational qualifications to Canadian standards, it holds the power to impact your eligibility for various immigration streams into Canada significantly.

Understanding and meeting the Educational Credential Assessment (ECA) requirement is essential for your Canadian immigration journey, and a step that can significantly enhance your Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) points.