Your educational qualification plays a significant role in determining whether you are eligible for immigrating to Canada. Educational Credential Assessment (ECA) is an integral part of the skilled worker immigration process.
Purpose of the ECA?
The ECA is an independent verification of the validity and authenticity of your degree, diploma, certificate, or credential.
Second, the ECA identifies the Canadian equivalent of your foreign credential. Is your Bachelor’s degree from India equivalent to a similar degree granted by a Canadian educational institution? Or, is it equivalent to a lower or higher credential? This is what the ECA answers.
The ECA is not required if you have studied from a Canadian institution. It is needed only for assessing credentials granted by foreign institutions.
Getting an ECA
You must apply for and obtained the ECA from an organization designated by the IRCC. Remember, you must apply for the ECA for immigration purposes only. There are different types of ECAs and applying for the wrong one can lead to unnecessary complications.
If yours is a regulated occupation, then your education must be assessed only by designated professional bodies. A physician from Vietnam seeking to apply under the Federal Skilled Workers Program (FSWP) must necessarily get an ECA from the Medical Council of Canada.
Why so Important?
Anybody with a foreign degree can apply under the FSWP only if the ECA is submitted along with the Express Entry application. This must be done irrespective of whether you are claiming Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) points for your educational degree.
Applicants under the Federal Skilled Trades Program or the Canada Experience Program can enter the EE pool without an ECA. However, they will need the ECA to claim CRS points for their education.
How many ECAs?
You must get your highest degree or credential assessed and obtain an ECA for the same.
If you have multiple degrees or qualifications, then you must get an ECA if you want to claim points for each credential. So, if you have three degrees and want to claim points for two, then those two degrees must be assessed and you must submit ECAs for the same when filing your application.
Keep in mind that you can claim points for multiple degrees/credentials only if at least one credential was of duration of three years or more.
You may be required to get an ECA for your secondary education if your post-secondary degree is not equivalent to a Canadian credential. In such a scenario, an ECA for your secondary credential can help you claim points for the same.
The ECA remains valid for a period of five years, which is calculated from the date of submission of the EE profile as well as the date of application for permanent residence after getting an ITA.
This is important because an ECA that was valid at time of creation of the EE profile but is more than five years old at time of PR application may lead to complications and delays in your Canada immigration plans.
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