Canada improves fairness for applicants by ending post-graduation work permit “flagpoling”

2024 June 21

Ottawa—A safe and secure flow of goods and people across the Canada–United States border is critical to North America’s economy and the close person-to-person ties that Canadians and Americans enjoy. That’s why we continue to look for ways to make it easier and faster to cross the border without compromising the integrity of our immigration system.

Today, the Honourable Marc Miller, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, announced that foreign nationals can no longer apply for a post-graduation work permit (PGWP) at the border, effective immediately. This measure will help reduce what is known as “flagpoling.” Flagpoling occurs when temporary residents of Canada bypass the normal wait times involved in applying for a work or study permit online by leaving the country and then immediately re-entering to receive same-day immigration services.

Flagpoling uses significant resources at the border, taking officers away from enforcement activities, causing delays for travellers and slowing down the movement of goods. From March 1, 2023, to February 29, 2024, PGWP applicants represented about one fifth of the foreign nationals who attempted to flagpole.

The Government of Canada is taking measures to encourage applicants to apply in Canada rather than flagpole. We continue to improve processing times, and are moving toward a more integrated, modernized and centralized working environment to help speed up application processing globally.

The change announced today increases fairness amongst applicants and is another step that the Government of Canada is taking to reduce flagpoling. We’ll continue to look for ways to reduce flagpoling so our shared border with the US runs smoothly and efficiently, benefitting both our nations.