This is the common question we encounter when we decide to do something new in life. How to get started? Honestly, I didn’t know how to start when I finally decided to apply for Permanent Resident (PR) Visa to Canada back in 2014. At that time, the applications were all paper-based. The first thing that crossed my mind was to schedule an appointment with a “professional” consultant. And so I did (At that time, I didn’t know that you don’t need one).
I. EDUCATIONAL CREDENTIAL ASSESSMENT (ECA)
Have your education credentials assessed by an accredited Canadian Organization. In this process, your educational attainment will be assessed and compared to its Canadian Education equivalent. As for me, I availed the services of World Education Services (WES) Canada. I don’t know if they are the best in the field but I jumped with the bandwagon as many availed WES with good testimonies. Here’s the link: https://www.wes.org/
- You need to create a username and password
- Pay online (at least $150 for each college degree you earned) – rate was in 2014
- Prepare application form (will be sent after payment)
- You need to visit your alma mater or universities/colleges where you earned your degree or diploma because they are the ones who are only allowed to submit your original transcript of records (TOR) or mark sheets. The school will charge you for a courier fee (make sure they use commercial couriers like UPS,DHL or Fedex) and a new transcript of records (if needed). Unless, they don’t do this, you may ask them to seal the envelope instead and use the school’s name when mailing it using the courier
4.1 How to send a WES a sealed envelope? The latter should be official including an institutional seal and signature of the authorized representative. If seal is broken or envelope looks opened, the submitted documents may be rejected by WES.4.2 There are some schools that provide TOR specifying the purpose of the document such as “For Visa Abroad Purposes and For Immigration Purposes.” You can choose either of the two purposes. Anyway, it is obviously for money-making purposes of some schools and your document will be assessed regardless of the purpose.
- Photocopy your College Diploma and send it via courier. Take note that for the TOR, it is your school who should submit it. Practicality-wise speaking, the diploma can also be sent by WES. However, the latter specifically stated that the applicant must be the one who will send it.
- Wait for the assessment which usually lasts for 3-6 weeks (off-peak) or 4-12 weeks (peak). WES Canada will provide a notice of the result and you will be given an original assessment document. They will also directly send a softcopy to CIC (or in some cases, in the intended province).
- Once you received your assessment, you can now have a clearer picture of your Canadian-equivalent degrees and your Education points (via CIC guide) can be readily-calculatedRead more: Express Entry: Educational Credention Assessment
ll: Take the IELTS
For Immigration purposes, you need to take the “GENERAL” test. The “ACADEMIC” test is for student visas.
It is best to aim for the CLB 9 or 10. The higher the IELTS score, the higher the Comprehensive Ranking Score (CRS). If you are aiming to be invited as a Federal Skilled Worker (FSW), then you need the higher IELTS score to give you a great chance to be invited. However, if you will apply in provinces, it is safe to say to make sure to get at least an average of 7.0 but not lower than 6.5 in each of the test (Listening, Speaking, Reading, Writing). In the first place, why would you go to Canada if you can’t even speak in English?
If you think you need a formal English training, then pay a professional service for it. If not, then there are tons of resources online and you better discipline yourself to practice and learn regularly. I used the available links in the IDP and British Council Websites. Afterwards, I tried using GOOGLE to get free tests.
I also use “Learn English with Emma” via Youtube. The instructor provided useful information on how to ace your IELTS test. Because IELTS is an Australian or British accent test, I frequently read and listened to BBC News and watched British Movies to be more comfortable with their use of the language. By the way, the Philippines is used to American accent so it is an adjustment for me. Anyway, it was somehow easier to practice as my country is the 3rd largest English speaking nation in the world. Our country is officially a bilingual country (English & Tagalog).
I believe almost everyone in this world can understand and speak in English. It is just a matter of practice to improve your skills. In my opinion, if you feel like you know the language well, you still need to practice. Not the English, but the test format. You need to familiarize yourself to the actual tests. Click this link: https://www.ielts.org/about-the-test/test-format.
I suggest booking your test date as soon as possible. Why? Firstly, test dates can be sold like hotcakes. Many bookings are made even while you are reading this! Secondly, when you already have a definite IELTS Date, you will be pressured to practice or hone your skills.
Here’s the test score equivalency chart I got from CIC Website:
|International English Language Testing System (IELTS) General Training – Test score equivalency chart|
III. Express Entry Profile Creation
After obtaining both WES and IELTS results, you can now determine your eligibility using this link: http://www.cic.gc.ca/ctc-vac/getting-started.asp.
I suggest using the above link for first-time users. You will receive a personal reference code via email while it can also be linked to fasten your EE profile.
Otherwise, you may create your EE profile (MYCIC profile) by using this link: http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/e-services/account.asp. If you have an account with their sign-in partners (such as RBC, Scotia Bank, to name a few), you may use your existing ID to login. If none, register for a GC Key. Once registered, you will have an ID to log-in to your MyCIC Profile.
After creating an ID, you may start creating a new application. Use the personal reference code (if any) so the information you encoded during the eligibility test via website will be filled into the fields provided. Not all can be filled up so better complete all the necessary fields.
If you are eligible, an email instruction will be sent for you to create a job bank profile and require you to link to your MYCIC Profile. Once completed, the CIC website/system will generate your points based on their criteria (age, education language and work experience).
Now the question is, I am eligible but will I receive an invite with the CRS points that I have?
Check this link first: http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/express-entry/past-rounds.asp
If you feel like you can achieve the past “average” minimum score, then confidently wait for the draws to come. If not, consider retaking IELTS (or if you’re married, tell your spouse to take IELTS and WES to increase your points). You may also want to further your studies too (if you’re not rushing to migrate). Grab more work experience but worry on your age (the younger the better).
Well, let’s face it. Your score may be below 400 points. Don’t lose hope. Consider provincial nominations. Once nominated by a province, you’ll receive 600 CRS points. I have a separate discussion for that.
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Disclaimer: Filipino Portal in Canada is not in any way connected with Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) (formerly Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC)), nor are immigration consultants by profession or agency any information or news shared on this site are gathered from updates from various resources. We endeavor to keep the information up to date and correct.