Why do Express Entry candidates need an educational credential assessment (ECA)?

Published on January 4th, 2023 at 06:48am EST

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Skilled workers hopeful of becoming permanent residents (PRs) of Canada normally apply to Express Entry.

What is Express Entry?

Express Entry is a key immigration pathway for the Canadian government. There are several skilled worker programs managed under Express Entry: Canadian Experience Class (CEC), the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP), the Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP), and a portion of the Provincial Nominee Program (PNP).

Express Entry is a two-step process. The first step is for eligible candidates to submit a profile on the website of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC). Candidates then receive a Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) score which is determined by a variety of factors, such as a candidate’s age, language skills, work experience, and education. Approximately every two weeks, IRCC selects candidates from the Express Entry pool with the highest CRS scores. Those selected receive an Invitation to Apply (ITA) for Canadian Permanent Residency.

What is an ECA?

For many in the process of applying for Canadian Permanent Residency, obtaining an educational credential assessment (ECA) is necessary; for others, it provides an opportunity to enhance their competitiveness in the Express Entry pool.

IRCC reviews ECAs to assess the equivalency of educational credentials (degrees, diplomas, certificates, and so on) earned in other countries, and to compare them to Canadian standards.

Benefits of a World Education Services (WES) ECA: 

• Meet IRCC immigration program requirements (note for physicians and pharmacists)
• Meet Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) requirements (especially the Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program)
• Qualify for IRCC’s Agri-Food Immigration Pilot
• Gain recognition for your education so you can pursue your goals in Canada
• Store your report (and verified educational documents) for future use

Explore getting an ECA from WES today

A WES ECA is valid for five years from the date of issue and you can continue using it for future Express Entry profiles.

Note: ECA applicants only need to submit their highest earned credential. However, there are a few exceptions to this requirement. For more information, please read: New Requirements for Canada’s Educational Credential Assessment (ECA).

How WES can help with your ECA

Founded in 1974, WES is one of only five IRCC-designated ECA providers in all of Canada. With a service standard of just 35 business days after receipt, review, and acceptance of all required documents and fees, WES is one of the fastest ECA providers in the country.

WES provides high-quality academic assessment reports that are recognized by employers, licensing bodies, and higher education institutions.

Additionally, WES provides services for applicants who speak French. Its French language online application and required documents information serve the needs of Francophone individuals, as do our bilingual customer support representatives for applicants who require assistance over the phone.

Explore getting an ECA from WES today

To better illustrate the benefits of an ECA from WES, the following is a hypothetical example of how obtaining an ECA can enhance an applicant’s competitiveness in the Express Entry pool.

Rohit is a single 28-year-old man from India. He does not have a sibling living in Canada as a citizen or PR, nor does he have a PNP offer or certificate of qualification, but he does have a valid LMIA-supported job offer in a TEER 3 occupation. He came to Canada after completing a three-year bachelor’s degree back home. In Canada, he obtained a diploma from a college in Ontario after completing a two-year program.

Rohit wants to live in Canada permanently and decides to enter the Express Entry pool. He does not have an ECA for his degree from back home. Rohit has a CRS score of 469, below the latest cut-off of 491.

Then, Rohit decides to obtain an ECA for the bachelor’s degree he earned in India. Rohit notices that his CRS score has risen to 523. This is above the latest cut-off score of 491. Had Rohit applied for an ECA for his degree before the latest draw, he would have been selected and received an ITA.

Move forward on your Express Entry journey with help from WES

Ultimately, an ECA is a vital step in any skilled worker’s path to Canadian immigration — and it could all start with help from WES.

Explore getting an ECA from WES today

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