A client (through his immigration consultant) had a question about credential evaluations and how Canada’s immigration department (“CIC”) uses said assessments in Federal Skilled Worker applications for permanent residence.

Said client had a bachelor degree from a “Deemed” university in India; theuniversity shows up on the list of acceptable universities by the Indian government’s UGC (University Grants Commission). The UGC recognizes educational institutions in India to be accredited and in accordance with local educational standards.

World Educational Services is one of three authorized third parties CIC uses to assess education under Canada’s Federal Skilled Worker Program.  WES conducted the evaluation of the client’s education as follows:

“Canadian Equivalency: Bachelor Degree from non-recognized institution.”

CIC in turn refused the application stating that the education could not be recognized due to the evaluation by WES wherein WES stated that the university was a “non-recognized institution.”

A review of the current Immigration regulations andcurrent Immigration Refugee Protection Act reveals nothing about whether the university must be ‘recognized’ by WES.  On the other hand, the client went to an accredited and acceptable school.  Was CIC right in giving no points for this client’s university education despite its equivalence to Canadian standards?  No.

The Immigration Refugee Protection Regulations make clear that education is to be assessed by a third party such as WES and a visa officer has no discretion to assess the quality of the education.    In the case I reviewed, WES declared the institution in question a “non recognized institution”, yet also said it was equivalent to a Canadian bachelors degree.

I could not find anything in Canada’s immigration laws related to whether points should not be awarded if the education is a “non recognized institution”  – rather the regulations are preoccupied with equivalency to a Canadian educational credential.

The Immigration Manual at OP6C states, “The ECA report will also include an assessment by the organization or institution of the authenticity of the completed foreign diploma, certificate or credential. Refer to section 11.1 regarding concerns with respect to the authenticity of foreign educational credentials.”

The above manual excerpt allows a visa officer to explore a candidate’s education only for the purpose of authenticity.  Authenticity of the credential was not an issue in the case I reviewed.

ss 75(4)(a) of the regulations mentions

(a) if the organization or institution has the recognized expertise to assess the authenticity of foreign diplomas, certificates and credentials and their equivalency to Canadian educational credentials;…

Interestingly enough, the May 2013 Immigration Refugee Protection Regulations removed the following from Canada’s immigration laws:

 

“educational credential”
« diplôme »

“Educational credential” means any diploma, degree or trade or apprenticeship credential issued on the completion of a program of study or training at an educational or training institution recognized by the authorities responsible for registering, accrediting, supervising and regulating such institutions in the country of issue.

It would thus appear that the issue of whether the school is recognized by an authority is not relevant and the refusal appeared to take into account an irrelevant consideration. This would appear to be an error.

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