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BREAKING: Canada Ends Postgraduate Work Permit Flagpoling

In a significant policy shift announced on June 21, 2024, Canada’s Minister of Immigration, Honorable Mark Miller, has declared an immediate halt to flagpoling for postgraduate work permits. Effective June 21, 2024, foreign nationals can no longer use this method to obtain their permits.

This unexpected change will impact many international students who had planned to expedite their postgraduate work permit process through flagpoling. The official statement titled, Canada Improves Fairness for Applicants by Ending Postgraduation Work Permit Flagpoling, outlines the new policy and its rationale.

The Canada-US border facilitates a vital flow of goods and people, crucial to North America’s economy and the strong ties between Canadians and Americans. In an effort to streamline border crossings without compromising immigration integrity, Minister Miller has announced the immediate cessation of border applications for the Postgraduation Work Permit (PGWP).

Flagpoling, a process where temporary residents leave and re-enter Canada to receive same-day immigration services, has been deemed resource-intensive. It diverts border officers from essential enforcement duties, delays travelers, and hampers goods movement. Between March 1, 2023, and February 29, 2024, PGWP applicants comprised about 20% of those attempting flagpoling.

The Canadian government is now urging applicants to apply within Canada rather than through flagpoling. Enhancements in processing times and moves toward a more integrated, modernized system aim to expedite global application processing.

The newly implemented policy strives to create a fairer system for all applicants and marks another step towards reducing flagpoling. The government continues to seek methods to ensure the Canada-US border operates smoothly and efficiently for the benefit of both nations.

From February 1 to the end of March, one-fifth of all flagpoling attempts involved foreign nationals eligible for a PGWP. This practice placed substantial strain on Canada’s Border Services Agency, whose primary mission is to safeguard the border and ensure the secure movement of people and goods. Recently, IRCC announced efforts to reduce flagpoling processing times at various Canadian borders.

This policy change represents a significant setback for international students, especially those eligible for the three-year postgraduate work permit who sought to bypass lengthy online application processes. Previously, flagpoling allowed for same-day permit issuance, offering a quick alternative to the often delayed online applications.

Moving forward, all PGWP applications must be submitted online. While the announcement did not address other immigration documents processed through flagpoling, it is presumed that other types of flagpoling may still be permitted, provided they are unrelated to the postgraduate work permit.

Source IRCC:

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