Canada Ends Flagpoling Services for PGWP Applicants

Important Change Announced

Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has announced a significant change for foreign nationals. As of June 21, 2024, they can no longer apply for a Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) at their Canadian port of entry (POE). This change is effective immediately.

Statement from the Immigration Minister

Immigration Minister Marc Miller stated that this measure will reduce the practice known as “flagpoling.” This will allow border officers more time to complete enforcement activities. It is also expected to reduce delays for travelers and speed up the movement of commercial goods between Canada and the United States. The change aims to increase fairness among applicants and maintain the integrity of the immigration system.

Key Points from Minister Miller

Minister Miller emphasized the importance of the contributions of international graduates to Canada’s labor market. However, he noted that flagpoling is unnecessary and diverts officers from their crucial roles. This new measure will help prevent the practice while ensuring safety, security, and prosperity for Canadians and Americans.

Addressing Applicant Concerns

Some applicants use flagpoling to avoid lengthy processing times for their PGWP. To address these concerns, IRCC is implementing several measures:

  • Speeding Up Processing Times: Improving processing times for in-Canada work permit applications.
  • Simplifying Online Applications: Making online forms and processes easier so foreign nationals can continue working while waiting for a decision.
  • Immediate Work Authorization: Allowing workers to start working for a new employer right away, rather than waiting for their new work permit application to be processed.

Statistics on Flagpoling

From March 1, 2023, to February 29, 2024, PGWP applicants accounted for one-fifth of the foreign nationals who attempted to flagpole.

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Understanding Flagpoling

Flagpoling is a legal practice where eligible temporary residents exit and return to Canada through a designated POE within 24 hours. This allows them to receive immigration services without waiting long periods. It also provides an opportunity to converse with an immigration official face-to-face, which can be helpful in addressing application issues.

Advice from CBSA

The Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) advises newcomers to use flagpoling services carefully. Wait times at POEs can be long, and mismanaging departure and re-entry can have immigration implications. Newcomers must maintain valid legal status or have maintained status in Canada when using flagpoling services. Out-of-status newcomers risk deportation if they attempt to flagpole.

Recent Changes to Flagpoling Services

In response to growing wait times and traffic at key POEs, the Canadian and United States governments have announced changes to flagpoling services. As a result, flagpoling services at 12 Canadian POEs will have reduced hours of service.

Table of Reduced Hours of Service at Canadian POEs

Quebec Region

Port of EntryNew Hours of Service
ArmstrongMonday-Thursday from 12 pm to 7 pm
Saint Armand/PhillipsburgMonday-Thursday from 9 am to 3 pm
Saint Bernard de LacolleMonday-Thursday from 12 pm to 7 pm
Stanstead Route 55Monday-Thursday from 8 am to 5 pm

Southern Ontario Region

Port of EntryNew Hours of Service
Fort Erie (Peace Bridge)Tuesday-Thursday from 8 am to 12 am
Niagara Falls Rainbow BridgeTuesday-Thursday from 8 am to 12 am
Queenston-Lewiston BridgeTuesday-Thursday from 8 am to 12 am

Pacific Region

Port of EntryNew Hours of Service
Abbotsford-HuntingtonMonday-Thursday from 10 am to 4 pm
AldergroveMonday-Thursday from 10 am to 4 pm
Boundary BayMonday-Thursday from 10 am to 2 pm
DouglasMonday-Thursday from 10 am to 4 pm
Pacific HighwayMonday-Thursday from 10 am to 4 pm

Conclusion

This significant change by IRCC aims to improve the immigration process in Canada. It will help reduce delays and ensure fairness among applicants. By ending flagpoling for PGWP applicants, IRCC is focusing on maintaining the integrity of the immigration system while supporting the contributions of international graduates to Canada’s labor market


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