In some countries, certain certificates and licenses require post-secondary educational steps or their equivalents and other countries do not. Some professional licenses and certifications are called the same thing in two completely different countries, but the education it takes to earn these verbally identical degrees are completely different. This is one of the many complexities of evaluating foreign degrees for US equivalency. Some certificates and licenses with the same title aren’t degrees at all, nor do their countries of origin label them as such, but sometimes professional certificates and licenses actually ARE degrees but simply don’t have the word “degree” in the title.
Educational value gets muddled in translation. This is why EB2 petitions for candidates with these kinds of certifications and licenses – like the Indian Chartered Accountancy certification – have some of the highest RFE rates. When it comes to the issue of the Indian Chartered Accountancy degree, it’s particularly confusing because Canada has a certificate with the same name. However, while the Indian Chartered Accountancy certificate is the equivalent to a US Bachelor’s degree in Accounting, the Canadian certification with the same name is not. The US CPA is not the equivalent of a Bachelor’s degree either because the educational steps required for this certification don’t include those equivalent to a US bachelor’s degree.
Confused yet? Let’s take a look at how the Indian Chartered Accountancy certificate breaks down to understand its US equivalency. There are two components necessary to an evaluation to show CIS your client meets the PERM educational requirements:
First, for your client to hold a Chartered Accountancy certification in India, he or she must have completed a program of education culminating in taking an exam by the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (IACI) and passed the exam. To take the exam, your client must have met the prerequisite of 2.5 years of professional training and passing the PE-II Intermediate exam. To take the PE-II exam, your client must meet the prerequisites of holding an Indian Bachelor’s degree, or having passed the PE-I equivalent. This means in order to hold the certification your client holds, he or she must have earned an Indian Bachelor’s degree or its equivalent, or your client would not have been eligible to even take the PE-II.
Second, the evaluation must cite federal case law. In an AAO decision in 2007, the organization agreed that, “Passage of the ICAI examination and obtaining associate membership in the ICAI is the foreign equivalent to a US Bachelor’s degree in accounting.”
With these two components present in a credential evaluation, your client’s education will meet the PERM requirements with an Indian Chartered Accountancy certification. An evaluation that includes a detailed analysis of both the steps of education required for your client to earn this certification AND federal case law stating ICAI equivalency, it will be clear to CIS that your client holds the equivalent of a US Bachelor’s degree in Accounting.
About the Author
Sheila Danzig is the Executive Director of TheDegreePeople.com a Foreign Credentials Evaluation Agency. For a no charge analysis of any difficult case, RFEs, Denials, or NOIDs, please go to http://www.ccifree.com/ or call 800.771.4723.