Under the Express Entry system your IELTS test results and the ECA must be obtained before you submit your application. Other categories of Canadian Immigration like the Quebec Skilled Worker program do not require an ECA.
If you already have a Canadian degree an ECA is not required. It should be mentioned that if you have graduated from a Canadian university or college and you already have some Canadian work experience, you will have a better chance of being invited to apply for Canadian Permanent Residence under the Express Entry system. Given the fact that the Canadian Experience Class and provincial nominee programs favour applicants with work and/or education in Canada, and the Express Entry system controls the intake of both programs, you will have multiple categories of Canadian Immigration you could be eligible for.
The ECAs are done by designated third party organizations. The results of the evaluation will be how the visa officer assigns points for your education out of a maximum of 25 points.
Order more than one set of transcripts and diplomas from your school so you have copies to provide to Immigration Canada as well as the organization performing the ECA.
If you are married or have a common-law partner, and they have post-secondary education, it is advisable to also have an ECA done for your spouse. It could make your application rank higher, and therefore more likely to be selected out of the pool of applicants under the Express Entry system.
You must provide the original ECA with your application. Do not have the organization send it directly to the visa office.
If you are applying as a physician you must get your ECA done here.
The Canadim Team!
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