But first… Let me get an ECA. And IELTS.

So the information session we attended took place on 10 March. But according to the NB Website, we still had to wait until they opened for EOI submissions from those who had attended NBPNP information sessions in the past 24 months. Until then, unless you had relatives in NB or worked in NB, if you submitted an EOI, it would be void.

(Some people took a chance, and sent EOIs anyway, even if they didn’t meet any criteria except having experience in the NB in-demand occupation list, and miraculously got invitations to submit full applications. With my luck, if I’d tried that, I’d probably not only get rejected but also banned from attempting to apply for PR for the next 5 years. *sigh*)

So began a daily routine of setting my alarm for every 3 hours (except at night), and checking if there were any updates on the website. At that time, I still hadn’t really started actively researching what would be required, should we decide to go the provincial nomination program. That’s me, really. Have a plan, and then wait and see what happens, then freak out and try to figure out the details as quickly and thoroughly as possible. I promised myself when I first started seriously considering immigrating, that I wouldn’t do this again and stress myself out, but hey, old habits die hard. Z, on the other hand, likes to have everything planned to the last detail and have at least 3 contingencies available.

Anyway, while I was waiting for NBPNP to give us poor souls a chance to submit EOIs, I was also looking at other provinces and their Provincial programs, so I could make the best available choice. I was leaning towards Ontario because I had been there, and also because it seemed to have the most options with regards to jobs and living. Although, I was not interested in staying in Toronto at all. Z was all for British Columbia, mainly because Supernatural gets filmed in Vancouver and he was probably expecting to run into Sam and Dean sometime. But BC required you to have a job offer to qualify for their PNP, and that didn’t seem likely for us.

I knew that, whatever else, we would first need to take the IELTS General exam, and also get ECAs – i.e. have our degrees evaluated to find their Canadian equivalency – to get as many points as we could on the Comprehensive Ranking System.

So while waiting for the EOI submission window to open, not just for NBPNP, but for any of the other provinces we could likely immigrate to, we gathered the first of the documents required – copies of our degree certificates, and the academic transcripts from the university – and sent them off through DHL to WES (World Education Services) for evaluation.

CIC does have other designated education assessment centers. But WES was the quickest, giving an evaluation report in 20 working days. The cost for an evaluation is CAD 200 + delivery cost to send you a hard copy of the report. You can take the standard postal delivery or the door-to-door delivery. I suggest taking the standard delivery, even if it takes 2 months to be delivered to you. You will save (quite a lot of) money that way. And believe me, you will need that money you save later on. Besides, WES sends a copy of your evaluation to IRCC, and gives you a downloadable PDF copy of your evaluation once it’s done, and that is all you actually need.

I had taken my IELTS General exam in March, but had not received my results until the first week of April. Guess why? Apparently, my test warranted investigation. Really? What in the world..?

Reading the email they sent me regarding the investigation – it seemed like I had received high scores, and they thought I had cheated to get that score. After the initial outrage, I promptly sent them an email outlining why I had every means of scoring highly, thank you very much, and awaited the results. After 2 extra excruciating weeks, I finally received my test results form. Z took his exam in April, and received his results 13 days later, as per the normal timeline. Thankfully, we had both scored above CLB 10 (IELTS Band 8.5/9), so we knew we would receive full points in the language section of the CRS scoring, at least. On 23rd April, I received my completed WES ECA report for my BSc degree evaluation.

Since I was going to be the principal applicant for PR, with the NOC 2174 (Computer Programmers and Interactive Media Developers), with Z as my accompanying spouse (NOC 5241 – Graphic Designer and Illustrator), we decided now was the time to finally create an Express Entry profile, and submit it for acceptance into the Express Entry pool.


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