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Canada Enhances Fairness for Applicants by Ending Post-Graduation Work Permit Flagpoling

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Ensuring a safe and efficient flow of goods and people across the Canada–United States border is vital for North America’s economy and the close personal connections between Canadians and Americans. This is why we continually seek ways to make border crossings easier and faster without compromising the integrity of our immigration system.

Today, the Honourable Marc Miller, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, announced an immediate change: foreign nationals can no longer apply for a post-graduation work permit (PGWP) at the border. This new measure aims to reduce the practice known as “flagpoling,” where temporary residents leave and re-enter Canada to bypass the usual wait times for work or study permits, thus receiving same-day immigration services.

Flagpoling diverts significant resources at the border, taking officers away from enforcement activities and causing delays for other travellers and the movement of goods. Between March 1, 2023, and February 29, 2024, PGWP applicants constituted about one-fifth of the foreign nationals attempting to flagpole.

The Government of Canada is implementing measures to encourage applicants to apply within Canada instead of flagpoling. We are continually improving processing times and moving towards a more integrated, modernised, and centralised working environment to accelerate application processing globally.

The change announced today enhances fairness among applicants and is another step by the Government of Canada to reduce flagpoling. We will continue to explore ways to minimise flagpoling, ensuring our shared border with the US operates smoothly and efficiently, benefiting both nations.

“While we continue to support and recognize the contributions of international graduates to Canada’s labour market, ‘flagpoling’ is unnecessary. The time and effort required to process applications from ‘flagpolers’ takes officers on both sides of the border away from their crucial role in protecting the safety, security and prosperity of Canadians and Americans. This measure will help prevent this practice, while maintaining the integrity of our immigration system.”

– The Honourable Marc Miller, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship

“Flagpoling places an undue burden on our border services officers. With this change, we’re taking a measured approach to combatting the issue and putting an even greater focus on maintaining the integrity of our shared border with the United States.”

– The Honourable Dominic LeBlanc, Minister of Public Safety, Democratic Institutions and Intergovernmental Affairs.

Key Facts on Canada’s Elimination of Post-Graduation Work Permit “Flagpoling”

  • Typically, a study permit expires 90 days after an international student completes their study program. Eligible graduating students who apply online for a PGWP before their study permit expires can work full-time while awaiting approval. They receive an automated letter to show employers, and the approved work permit is mailed directly to them.
  • Recently, flagpoling hours were reduced at 12 Canadian ports of entry to help border services officers manage high traveller volumes during peak periods and prioritise high-risk travellers and trade facilitation.

Other recent measures to address flagpoling include:

  • Speeding up processing times for in-Canada work permit applications.
  • Simplifying online application forms and processes, allowing foreign nationals to continue working while awaiting a decision on their new application.
  • Authorising workers to start with a new employer immediately, without waiting for their new work permit application to be processed.

Contact us for more information.

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