More than 300,000 people immigrate to Canada each year, and approx. 250,000 individuals become naturalized citizens annually. As a safe and welcoming destination that provides abundant opportunities and development for people from all walks of life, it is an attractive potential home for many people looking for a change.
The ECA is the first step if you consider applying for Canada PR (or even a student visa). The assessment consists of evaluating your degree, University, its accreditation and other aspects of your education. This article talks about the various assessment bodies, the process, and saving money while applying for the assessment.
What is an ECA Report?
An Educational Credential Assessment is a process used by Canadian immigration officers to double-check your foreign education credentials. This could be your high school diploma, your college degree, or even a course certificate.
The ECA report verifies your educational background and translates it to a Canadian equivalent. An example of this would be a one-year Masters Course that is simply considered an additional certification program in Canada.
Factors such as your post-school attendance or any extra-curricular contribution are not mentioned in your ECA report. Suppose you are currently undergoing the enrolment process for any course completed before you move to Canada. In that case, you may be able to get it considered under your ECA report as well.
Do You Require an ECA Report?
If you have completed any of your education in Canada, you would not require an ECA report. However, if you’re immigrating to Canada and plan to work there, you need to get an ECA Report.
While you only need to have your highest education assessed (meaning if the highest level of education you’ve pursued is an undergraduate program, you should only have that assessed), many people also opt to have all post-secondary education assessed.
People who get all post-secondary education assessed get maximum points for education when their Masters isn’t determined to be the exact equivalent in Canada. In these situations, getting all post-secondary education assessed would make the person’s educational equivalent as having a Bachelors and Certification Program.
If your spouse is also planning to move with you to Canada and continue working there, they will require an ECA report as well. You can add your spouse’s ECA report to get extra Comprehensive Ranking Scores when you’re applying for a program.
Choosing the Ideal Organization for ECA
The IRCC only accepts ECAs from seven specific designated organizations. There are separate organizations that only cater to those in the medical professions (doctors and pharmacists). At the same time, other professionals can select any one of the other organizations for their ECA process. The organizations are:
- Comparative Education Services – University of Toronto School of Continuing Studies
- International Credential Assessment Service of Canada
- World Education Services
- International Qualifications Assessment Service
- International Credential Evaluation Service
- Medical Council of Canada (Doctors only)
- Pharmacy Examining Board of Canada (Pharmacists only)
Depending on how much time you have before submitting your ECA report, your considerations in choosing the ideal organization may be different. World Education Services has the most efficient processing time and ensures that the process takes as little time on their end as possible.
The application and regulation for getting the Educational Credential Assessment report are almost the same for all organizations, and it begins with you making an account on their official website. After providing the relevant data and documentation, you have to wait until the stipulated time.
There is a difference in the time different organizations take to verify your credentials depending on how many experts they have and if they do any other training or activity relating to immigration or education. Keep in mind that COVID-19 has changed the processing times for each organization, and it may take longer than anticipated for even the most efficient organization to get back to you.
The pricing for each organization differs as well. You will find that all organizations offer their services for anywhere between CAD 200 to CAD 220. If you plan to work for a large corporation or in a specific occupation, your employer may require that you get your Assessment report from a designated organization.
Process of Getting an ECA Report for Canadian Immigration
The Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) began designating organizations for individuals to use when they required an ECA report back in 2013. There are several organizations that individuals can choose from today when they’re beginning the process of attaining a report.
You have to ensure that when you’re applying for the ECA report, you’re selecting to apply for a report specifically for immigration purposes. There are various assessment reports, but the IRCC will only accept ECA reports issued for immigration purposes only.
Regardless of the organization you end up going with, they will require proper documentation from you that includes transcripts and other documents directly from your school and a copy of your degree/diploma/certificate for verification.
The evaluation process can take anywhere from a few weeks to more than several months. When you’re aware of what programs you’re applying to, plan accordingly to complete your ECA verification, so you’re not in a rush at the last hour.
Saving Money on Your ECA Report
As getting the Educational Credential Assessment report is quite expensive, there are specific methods you can utilize to make the expenses more bearable on your wallet with success.
Selecting to opt for an ECA application for IRCC compared to the standard option is a cheaper way of getting your report. A majority of people don’t require the standard report for immigration purposes.
Due to COVID-19, you will only require the PDF document of the ECA report to apply for your immigration process. Select standard courier service to get the physical report documents since you don’t need them for the immigration application process.
It’s more efficient and optimal to send only the PDF document to recipients and/or any other association. Sending a physical copy of your report won’t just be costly, it can be unnecessary in most situations. It’s best to get all your higher education evaluated at the same time to prevent additional charges in the future.
Don’t ask your organization to send the report directly to IRCC as they don’t require the original documents. This is because organizations charge per application and not per degree. It can also end up saving you time in the future since each application takes at least a few weeks to process.
ECA Report for Canadian Immigration
An ECA report is also mandatory for many ongoing Canadian immigration programs such as Provincial Nominee Programs, regional immigration programs, and even federal programs within the Express Entry system.
The Express Entry system is the fastest way to complete your immigration process for Canada. Not all students are eligible under this system, but if you’re looking into applying under the Federal Skilled Worker program under Express Entry, you will require an ECA report.
If you’re applying for the Canadian Experience Class or Federal Skilled Trades program, getting an ECA report can help you achieve extra points under the education category.
The Best Time to Get Your ECA Report
The Educational Credential Assessment remains one of the most crucial documents when you’re planning to apply for a range of Canadian immigration programs. It helps Canadian immigrant officials verify your educational credentials and their equivalent for them.
In some cases, the report will be required when you begin your immigration process, and for others, you may not need the document at all but it will be a benefit when you provide it regardless.
For the Federal Skilled Worker Program, and other specific provincial and federal programs, you will need to have your ECA report ready before you even start the process.
If you need to see your Comprehensive Ranking Score or see what the educational equivalent of your current degree would be, there are plenty of websites online that can show you how many potential points you will be able to earn and equivalent degrees.
Get Your ECA Report to Make Your Canadian Move Successfully
Once you get your Educational Credential Assessment completed, it is valid for five years. It means that you should begin the process of getting your report as soon as you’ve made up your mind to immigrate to Canada without worrying about the report expiring anytime soon.
If your immigration process has taken longer than expected, you can look into renewing the report, which is acceptable in specific circumstances. Prepare for your new life in Canada comprehensively by having the ECA report ready for your immigration process anytime.
By having your ECA, you don’t need to face any difficulties when trying to apply for a program that allows you to work in the country. You would have to ensure that your school/college/educational institution is equipped to send sealed transcripts and records to the organization of your choice, as many developing countries may not have such facilities available.
Many educational institutions in other countries don’t give the diploma or degree to the students immediately after graduation. You can opt to have a temporary or provincial degree allotted to you for the Educational Credential Assessment.
Students and working professionals alike need to prepare and plan their strategy to move to Canada, keeping ECA in mind. There may be many challenges in your path of moving to Canada, but with the right analytics and information to back you up, you will find that any requirement to move to Canada becomes easy