As a rule, every Express Entry applicant has to have their educational credentials assessed by designated entities. The objective is to have the foreign degree, certification or diploma (your proof of education credential) validated and verified to be equal to a Canadian qualification.
The ECA report and reference must be included in the Express Entry application, and it may be helpful in finding a suitable job in Canada when they land. However, it does not guarantee that:
- They will surely get a job in their preferred field of expertise and level; or
- Be able to receive a license or certification to practice in a regulated profession.
If an applicant intends to work in a regulated profession, they must seek a license based on the profession and the province/territory they intend to practice in.
Do I need an ECA?
If you have an educational qualification from outside of Canada, you will need to have an ECA from a designated entity to:
- Be eligible as the principal applicant for the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP), or
- Earn points for education received from outside Canada.
You also earn points for your spouse or common-law partner’s education if they are coming with you to Canada.
I have a Canadian qualification; do I still need an ECA?
If you have a Canadian education certificate, diploma or degree, you do not require to have your education assessed. The objective of the ECA is to assess foreign qualification against a Canadian qualification.
Does all my education get assessed?
The good news is that only your highest level of education needs to get assessed. If you have more than one highest level of education, such as 2 professional certifications, you can gain extra CRS points if both are assessed.
Sometimes though, you may be asked for your secondary education to be assessed. This would happen if the post-secondary education is not equivalent to a Canada credential.
Where do I get my credentials assessed?
You can get your education credentials assessed at one of the followed designated organizations:
- Comparative Education Service: University of Toronto School of Continuing Studies
- International Credential Assessment Service of Canada
- World Education Services
- International Qualifications Assessment Service (IQAS)
- International Credential Evaluation Service
On completing their assessment, the organization you have chosen will send you a report that tells you what level of Canadian education credential yours is equal to.
If you’re a specialist or family physician, you must get your credentials assessed by the Medical Council of Canada.
If you’re a pharmacist and you need a license to practice your profession at a hospital, long term care facility or at a community pharmacy, you need to have your credentials assessed by the Pharmacy Examining Board of Canada. However, if you do not need a license for your job, for example if you are working with the government or the pharmaceutical industry, you can get your credentials assessed at any of the five organizations mentioned above.
How long is the ECA report valid for?
The ECA report will be accepted as part of your Express Entry application for up to 5 years, from the date of issue, if they were issued on or after April 17, 2013.
Does getting an ECA mean I can practice in a regulated profession?
No, your ECA only provides a form of equivalency for the purposes of applying under the Federal Skilled Worker Program and does not mean that they will be readily recognized in Canada. You will need to go through the process defined by the regulated profession or license issuing authority.
If you plan to work in a regulated profession, you should contact the regulatory authority in the province where you plan to work to find out more about how to get a license.
Can I re-submit my ECA if I’m applying for Express Entry again?
Yes, you can re-submit your ECA if it is still valid, meaning issued within the last 5 years, and still valid when you complete and submit your application.
How much does it cost to have my education assessed, and how long does it take?
For most people, the cost is about CAN$200 plus the cost to have it delivered. Delivery costs depend on how you choose it to be sent, with courier delivery being the most expensive.
The fees for an ECA report and the length of time to get one vary and can change without notice.
If you’re a family or specialist physician, or a pharmacist, the cost will be higher. You will need to contact the professional body that regulates your occupation to find out how much it will cost.
The time to get your education assessed is different for each designated organization or professional body. It can take from a few weeks to a few months.
You may contact the designated organizations directly for the costs and estimated duration of assessment.