Canada’s New Immigration Policy: Ending ‘Flagpoling’ for Post-Graduation Work Permits

Ending Flagpoling

Hello aspiring professionals! If you’re considering working in Canada after completing your studies, there’s an important update you need to know. The Canadian government has enacted a significant policy change regarding post-graduation work permits, effective June 21, 2024. They have decided to discontinue the practice known as ‘flagpoling’, where individuals could apply for work permits immediately at the border. Ending Flagpoling

What is Flagpoling?

Flagpoling is a strategy that many international students and temporary residents in Canada have used to fast-track their work or study permit applications. Instead of waiting for their application to be processed online, they would leave Canada briefly (usually to the United States) and re-enter to get their permit processed immediately at the border. This approach allowed them to bypass the lengthy wait times that come with online applications.

Why Did People Use Flagpoling?

The main reason people used flagpoling was to avoid the long processing times associated with online applications. When applying online, it can take weeks or even months to receive a permit. This delay can be a significant barrier, as applicants might not be able to work or continue their studies during this period. Flagpoling offered a quick solution, allowing students and temporary residents to continue their activities without interruption.

Why is Flagpoling Ending?

The decision to end flagpoling stems from several operational and logistical challenges it presents. Primarily, it has created significant congestion and delays at border entry points, diverting customs officers from other critical tasks.

Impact on Border Services

Flagpoling has put a considerable strain on Canadian border services. Customs officers have had to manage a high volume of individuals seeking same-day immigration services, which detracts from their ability to handle other important responsibilities, such as managing high-risk individuals and facilitating trade. To alleviate these issues, the government has reduced flagpoling hours at 12 entry points across the country, allowing officers to better manage the flow of visitors and focus on their core duties.

Impact on Post-Graduation Work Permits

Previously, international students could apply for a Post-Graduate Work Permit (PGWP) directly at the border upon graduation. With the new regulation, applicants must now apply online from within Canada. Notably, your study permit remains valid for up to three months after your program ends, allowing you sufficient time to apply for a PGWP without risking your legal status.

Processing Times for Temporary Permits

Understanding the processing times for temporary permits is crucial for planning your transition from student to professional life in Canada:

  • Study permit (outside Canada): Typically processed in 5 weeks.
  • Study permit (inside Canada): Takes approximately 12 weeks.
  • Work permit (outside Canada): Processing time can be up to 19 weeks.
  • Work permit (inside Canada): Longer processing time, averaging around 102 weeks.

These timelines underscore the importance of submitting your application early and ensuring all required documentation is in order to avoid delays.

Government Measures to Address Changes

In response to ending ‘flagpoling’, the Canadian government is implementing several measures to streamline the application process:

  • Accelerated In-Canada Processing: Efforts are underway to expedite the processing times for work permit applications submitted within Canada.
  • Simplified Application Procedures: Online forms and processes are being simplified to facilitate easier submissions, allowing applicants to continue working while awaiting decisions.
  • Immediate Work Authorization: Workers can start a new job immediately upon submitting their work permit application, eliminating the need to wait for full processing before changing employers.

Changes at Canadian Entry Points

To enhance efficiency at entry points, the Canadian government has reduced ‘flagpoling’ hours at 12 locations across the country. This adjustment aims to optimize border officer resources, enabling them to focus on critical tasks such as security and trade facilitation.

Promoting In-Canada Applications

Between March 1, 2023, and February 29, 2024, approximately one-fifth of foreign nationals attempting to ‘flagpole’ were PGWP applicants. The government is actively encouraging applicants to apply for permits within Canada, thereby improving processing times and promoting a more efficient application process domestically.

Conclusion: While the end of ‘flagpoling’ may initially present challenges, these policy adjustments by the Canadian government aim to establish a fairer and more efficient process for all applicants. By staying informed and preparing your application accordingly, you can successfully navigate the transition from student life to a professional career in Canada. For more information contact us now.

Disclaimer: provides information and guidance on Canadian immigration policies. For the latest updates and expert advice, visit our website. We are dedicated to helping you achieve your goals of working and living in Canada seamlessly!


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