Federal skilled workers selection criteria: Education

This section contains policy, procedures and guidance used by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada staff. It is posted on the Department’s website as a courtesy to stakeholders.

Awarding points: applications received before May 4, 2013

Officers should assess programs of study and award points based on the standards that exist in the country of study. The Regulations do not provide for comparisons to Canadian educational standards.

If the applicant has an educational credential referred to in a particular paragraph of subsection R78(2) but not the total number of years of study required by that paragraph, officers should award the number of points set out in the paragraph that refers to the number of years of study completed by the applicant [R78(4)].

Example 1

An applicant has a master’s degree but only 16 years of education, the officer compares the credential and years of study to the education points chart below and awards 22 points.

Example 2

An applicant has a four-year bachelor’s degree and 16 years of education. The officer awards 20 points, since a single two-, three-, or four-year university credential at the bachelor’s level, combined with at least 14 years of full-time study, is worth 20 points.

Note:

  • Degrees granted to medical doctors are generally first-level university credentials, in the same way that a Bachelor of Law or a Bachelor of Science in Pharmacology is a first-level, albeit “professional”, degree and should be awarded 20 points. If it is a second-level degree and if, for example, it is issued by a faculty of graduate studies, 25 points may be awarded. If a bachelor’s credential is a prerequisite to a credential but the credential itself is still considered a first-level degree, 22 points should be awarded. It is important to refer to how the local authority responsible for educational institutions recognizes the credential (i.e., as a first-level or second-level or higher university credential).
  • Subsection R78(1) defines “full-time equivalent” in respect of part-time or accelerated studies, as the period that would have been required to complete those studies on a full-time basis. In these cases, officers should award points for the credential and years of study that would have been required to complete the studies at the time the application is made pursuant to subsection R78(4).

Pursuant to section R77, officers should award points for the credential and years of study that the applicant has completed at the time the application is made. If further study is completed and the applicant submits documentation after the application is submitted but before a final decision is made, officers must award the points for the highest educational credential obtained.

A distance learning credential is eligible for points as long as it meets the definition of a credential as outlined in section R73. If the credential is not described in terms of number of years duration (e.g., three-year bachelor’s degree), officers should apply the definition of full-time equivalent study and consider the knowledge that the visa office has acquired on local education institutions and credentials.

There is a high incidence of fraud in this area. Verification checks should be conducted with issuing institutions to ensure that program integrity standards are respected.

Pursuant to section R78, officers should assess the application and award the applicant up to 25 points for education, as follows:

Table: Credentials and number of years of education
Credential and number of years of education Points
Secondary school educational credential 5
One-year post-secondary educational credential, other than a university educational credential, and at least 12 years of completed full-time or full-time equivalent studies 12
One-year post-secondary educational credential, other than a university educational credential, and at least 13 years of completed full-time or full-time equivalent studies 15
One-year university educational credential at the bachelor’s level, and at least 13 years of completed full-time or full-time equivalent studies 15
Two-year post-secondary educational credential, other than a university educational credential, and at least 14 years of completed full-time or full-time equivalent studies 20
A university educational credential of two years or more at the bachelor’s level, and at least 14 years of completed full-time or full-time equivalent studies 20
Three-year post-secondary educational credential, other than a university educational credential, and at least 15 years of completed full-time or full-time equivalent studies 22
Two or more university educational credentials at the bachelor’s level and at least 15 years of completed full-time or full-time equivalent studies 22
University educational credential at the master’s or doctoral level and at least 17 years of completed full-time or full-time equivalent studies 25

Note: Points are to be awarded on the basis of the single educational credential that results in the highest number of points according to the table. For example, an applicant with a master’s degree that was completed after 16 years of education, and who spends an additional year in school after obtaining it should be awarded 22 points. The fact that the applicant spent an additional year in school does not turn a 16-year master’s degree into a 17-year master’s degree and does not result in being awarded 25 points [R78(3)].

Awarding points: applications received on or after May 4, 2013

To be awarded points for education, the applicant must provide evidence that they have earned a Canadian secondary or post-secondary educational credential and/or submit their completed foreign educational credential and the equivalency assessment (educational credential assessment [ECA] report) issued by a designated organization or institution. The ECA report must indicate an equivalency to a completed Canadian secondary or post-secondary educational credential.

To obtain maximum points for education, applicants may submit evidence of more than one completed educational credential. However, any completed foreign educational credential submitted must be accompanied by an ECA report. For example, an applicant may have completed a Canadian post-secondary program and the equivalent of a Canadian post-secondary program of three years or longer at an educational institution outside of Canada. In this case, the applicant must submit proof of the Canadian educational credential, the foreign educational credential, and the ECA report demonstrating its equivalency to a Canadian post-secondary program credential.

Points are awarded on the basis of the completed Canadian educational credentials or equivalency assessments (ECA reports) submitted in support of the application for permanent residence that result in the highest number of points [R78(2)(b)].

The assessment results shown on the ECA report must match one of the outcomes found in the ECA conversion table, which lists the equivalency assessment outcomes and applicable education points. If it does not, their foreign education is not equal to a completed Canadian credential. In addition, an ECA with an assessment result showing "from a non-recognized institution” is not accepted.

Note: Once the minimum education requirement has been met, should applicants wish to claim additional points for education, they must submit an equivalency assessment (ECA report) for those completed foreign educational credentials for which they wish to be awarded points.

Pursuant to subsection 78(1), officers should assess the application and award the applicant up to 25 points for education, as follows:

Table: Educational credentials
Educational credential Points
University-level credential at the doctoral level [R78(1)(g)] 25

University-level credential at the master’s level or an entry-to-practice professional degree. CIC only accepts as an entry-to-practice professional degree those degrees issued in relation to an occupation listed in the National Occupational Classification (NOC) at skill level A and for which licensing by a provincial regulatory body is required, in one of the following fields of study:

  • medicine;
  • veterinary medicine;
  • dentistry;
  • podiatry;
  • optometry;
  • law;
  • chiropractic medicine;
  • pharmacy.
23
Two or more post-secondary program credentials, at least one of which must have been issued on completion of a post-secondary program of three years or longer [R78(1)(e)] 22
Post-secondary program credential of three years or longer [R78(1)(d)] 21
Two-year post-secondary program credential [R78(1)(c)] 19
One-year post-secondary program credential [R78(1)(b)] 15
Secondary school (high school) credential [R78(1)(a)] 5

Note: Paragraph R78(2)(a) provides that, except as set out in paragraph R78(1)(e) where points are awarded for two or more post-secondary educational credentials, points shall not be awarded cumulatively on the basis of more than one educational credential.

Designated assessment organizations

Applicants who list “Specialist physician – NOC 3111”, “General practitioners and family physicians – NOC 3112” or “Pharmacist – NOC 3131” as their primary occupation in their application must submit an ECA report issued by a designated professional body (with the exception of pharmacists who do not need a licence [see note below]). At the time of publication, designated professional bodies for equivalency assessments are

  • the Medical Council of Canada (MCC);
  • the Pharmacy Examining Board of Canada (PEBC).

Applicants listing any other occupation as their primary occupation in their application may submit an ECA report from any one of the following designated assessment organizations:

  • Comparative Education Service (CES), University of Toronto;
  • International Credential Assessment Service of Canada (ICAS);
  • International Credential Evaluation Service (ICES), British Columbia Institute of Technology;
  • International Qualifications Assessment Service (IQAS), Government of Alberta;
  • World Education Services (WES).

Note: For NOC code 3131, the equivalency assessment must be issued only by the PEBC if the applicant requires a licence to practice as a pharmacist (e.g., providing patient care in a community pharmacy, hospital pharmacy, long-term care facility or other practice settings). Applicants who are in a position where a licence is not needed (e.g. organizations in the pharmaceutical industry or government that require a pharmacy degree but may not require a licence to practice pharmacy) may have their credentials assessed by one of other designated assessment organizations.

Concerns with respect to the authenticity of foreign educational credentials

If an officer has concerns about the authenticity of the applicant’s foreign educational credential(s), they must, in accordance with the principles of procedural fairness, communicate these concerns to the applicant and afford them an opportunity to respond to those concerns and provide additional information or documentation. Officers should first contact the Centralized Intake Office in order to gain access to the online verification system of the designated organization or institution in order to validate the source documents assessed for the purposes of issuing the ECA report.

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