Canadian immigration applicants now only need to submit highest degree for ECA

Shelby Thevenot
Updated: Aug, 21, 2023
  • Published: December 24, 2020

Most people who apply for Canadian immigration need to submit a document verifying that their foreign degrees, diplomas, and certificates have a valid Canadian equivalent.

This document is called an Educational Credential Assessment, or ECA for short. One of the providers who is certified by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) to handle ECAs, WES, recently announced that immigration applicants only need to submit their highest completed credential.

WES discourages clients to submit any additional credentials for assessment, as it will slow down the process. Also, ECAs are not needed for Canadian credentials.

As of November 2020, those who have a PhD do not need to submit a bachelor's degree or master's degree to be assessed. The same goes for those who have a master's degree, or a bachelor's degree.

Find out if you’re eligible for Canadian immigration

The instructions are a little different for those who went to school in a francophone country, and there may be some outliers who will have to send in additional credentials. However, if their highest credential is a DEUG, DUT or Licence, then they do not need to send in their Diplôme du Bac, or BEP.  Those who have the following do not need to submit their DEUG, DUT or Licence for evaluation:

  • Maîtrise, Master, Diplôme d'Ingénieur;
  • Diplôme de Grandes Écoles;
  • DEA;
  • Diplôme d'État de Docteur en Médicine; or
  • Diplôme d’Etat de Docteur en Pharmacie.

Those whose have a Diplôme de Docteur do not need to submit their:

  • Maîtrise, Master, Diplôme d’Ingénieur,
  • Diplôme de Grandes Écoles;
  • DEA;
  • Diplôme d’Etat de Docteur en Médecine; or
  • Diplôme d’Etat de Docteur en Pharmacie.

Translations are not required for documents submitted in French. Most documents submitted in other languages will have to be translated, however there may be some exceptions depending on which documents WES requires.

Certain applicants from India will also have to submit additional credentials.

Indian applicants who are sending in a master's degree or postgraduate diploma to get assessed also have to send their bachelor's degree. There are some exceptions: people with a Master of Education, Master of Engineering, Master of Philosophy, or Master of Technology degree. Also, those who have a PhD do not need to send a bachelor's or master's degree for evaluation.

ECA for Express Entry

People who apply for Canadian immigration through the Express Entry system may need an ECA.

Those who completed education outside Canada need an assessment for two important reasons: to be eligible as the principal applicant for the Federal Skilled Workers Program, or to earn Comprehensive Ranking System points for foreign education.

Express Entry candidates who are applying with a spouse or common-law partner can earn points if their partner also gets an ECA for their foreign credentials.

Points will only be given if the report shows that the foreign credential is equal to a completed Canadian high school or post-secondary credential.

ECAs submitted for immigration purposes must not be more than five years old when applicants submit their Express Entry profile, or apply for permanent residence.

Get a Free Express Entry Assessment

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