The Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) is a pathway to Canadian immigration for individuals who have the skills, education, and work experience needed to contribute to the economy of a specific province or territory. One of the requirements for the PNP is an Educational Credential Assessment (ECA).
An ECA assesses an applicant’s educational credentials, such as diplomas, degrees, and certificates, to determine their Canadian equivalency. This assessment helps the Canadian government determine if an individual’s education is comparable to Canadian standards.
Since 2022, the Provincial Nominee Program, sometimes known as the PNP, has been one of the most important immigration routes in Canada. According to Canada’s Immigration Levels Plan for 2023-2025, the program is anticipated to continue to be successful in the years to come.
Except for Quebec and Nunavut, the PNP enables any province and territory in Canada to nominate foreign employees for permanent residency in the country. Those chosen for immigration to a given province or territory are chosen based on the applicant’s capacity to address local labour shortages and boost economic development by leveraging their education, skills, and job experience. This is done by utilising the applicant’s education, skills, and work experience.
Applying to the PNP without using Express Entry
There are two different application processes for the PNP. The first is a method of application that does not use Express Entry and is called as basic provincial nomination. Applicants must first determine the province or territory in Canada in which they wish to settle in Canada before submitting an application for nomination to that province or territory. Applicants who are successful in receiving a nomination from a province or territory are eligible to submit an application to Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) for permanent residency in that area.
Applying to the PNP via Express Entry
The second alternative is to submit an application for the PNP through Express Entry. Candidates must demonstrate that they meet the requirements of at least one of the three programs admissible under the Express Entry method.
- The Canadian Experience Class (CEC)
- Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP)
- Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP)
Even though each of these programs has unique minimum entry requirements, candidates who meet the eligibility requirements and build an Express Entry profile will be considered for an invitation to apply based on their respective Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) scores.
It is only possible to alter some of the aspects that go into determining a CRS score. For example, one of the things that goes into determining a candidate’s CRS score is their age, which they cannot change. On the other hand, a candidate has some control over certain aspects that determine their CRS score, such as their level of schooling. An educational credential assessment (ECA) is something a candidate might have to provide information about their education received in another country.
An ECA is a document that the IRCC evaluates to gain an understanding of how educational qualifications gained outside of Canada, such as degrees and certificates, match to the requirements that are in place in Canada. Because an ECA can add points to a candidate’s CRS score, the chances of obtaining permanent residence through Express Entry are significantly improved when the candidate has an ECA. An ECA can be obtained by contacting a provider that has been designated by the IRCC, such as World Education Services (WES).
Note that WES is one of the five organisations recognised by IRCC to offer ECAs in Canada (doctors, pharmacists, and other medical professionals are excluded from this designation).
The Importance of an ECA for the Provincial Nominee Program
When a candidate creates a profile through Express Entry, they will also have the opportunity to indicate which provinces and territories within Canada they would be interested in relocating to. If an applicant follows these steps, it will be clear to the regional governments that they want permanent residence in their selected province or territory.
The provinces and territories that run a PNP must check Express Entry profiles regularly and provide nominations for individuals eligible for immigration to that region.
An ECA from WES will result in a higher CRS score and make an Express Entry applicant more appealing to provinces and territories, increasing the candidate’s prospects of securing a PNP nomination. This is the case in either scenario.
PNP streams which need ECA
To participate in certain PNP programs, you are required to earn an ECA to fulfil the prerequisites. For example, all of a candidate’s academic qualifications were gained in a different nation. In that case, the applicant must obtain an ECA to meet the minimum entry criterion to be extended an invitation to apply for the Federal Skilled Worker Program. This is because meeting the minimum entry requirement is required to receive an invitation to apply.
Note that this requirement only applies to individuals qualified to have their Express Entry profile evaluated by the Federal Skilled Worker Program. Suppose the individual can also be assessed for eligibility for Express Entry through the Federal Skilled Trades Program or the Canadian Experience Class. In that case, the aforementioned criteria is null and void.
- ECAs determine a Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) applicant’s educational equivalency to Canadian requirements.
- ECAs increase Express Entry permanent residency applicants’ Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) scores.
- Canadian provinces and territories with a PNP must often verify Express Entry profiles and nominate acceptable applicants. WES ECAs enhance a candidate.
- For the Federal Skilled Worker Program, PNP applicants need an ECA.
- Quebec and Nunavut can’t nominate foreign workers for permanent residency under the PNP.