Canada Prohibits Flagpoling for PGWP Applicants

Author: John Black | | Categories: Work in Canada

PGWP Applicants

On June 21, 2024, Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) announced a significant change to the PGWP Applicants. Foreign nationals are now prohibited from applying for a PGWP at the border, a strategic move designed to curb the practice of “flagpoling.”

What is Flagpoling?

Flagpoling refers to the act of temporary residents in Canada exiting and re-entering the country to obtain immediate immigration services. This practice has been a common workaround to bypass regular waiting times for work or study permits. However, it has placed a significant burden on border resources, distracted officers, caused delays for travelers, and slowed the transit of goods.

Impact on PGWP Applicants

In the past year, approximately 20% of all foreign nationals attempting to flagpole were PGWP applicants. This new regulation specifically targets this group, encouraging them to apply for their permits within Canada rather than relying on the flagpoling method. 

Government’s Initiative to Improve Processing

The Government of Canada is actively working to enhance the fairness and efficiency of the immigration process. By discouraging flagpoling, the IRCC aims to:

  • Reduce Border Resource Strain: By decreasing the number of individuals seeking immediate immigration services at the border, officers can focus more on their primary duties, improving overall border efficiency.
  • Minimize Travel Delays: With fewer people attempting to flagpole, there will be fewer disruptions for travelers and a smoother transit of goods.
  • Improve Application Processing: The IRCC is committed to improving processing times by moving towards a more integrated, modernized, and centralized working environment. This effort will help speed up the application processing globally, benefiting all applicants.

Benefits of the New Policy

This change is a step towards ensuring a more equitable process for all PGWP applicants. By applying within Canada, applicants can benefit from a streamlined process, potentially leading to faster and more predictable outcomes. Additionally, the new policy supports the IRCC’s broader goals of modernization and efficiency, which will ultimately enhance the overall experience for all temporary residents in Canada.

The Honourable Marc Miller, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, stated:

“While we continue to support and recognize the contributions of international graduates to Canada’s labor 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 prohibition of flagpoling for PGWP applicants marks a pivotal change in Canada’s immigration policy. It reflects the government’s commitment to fair and efficient processing while addressing the challenges posed by the flagpoling practice. As Canada continues to improve its immigration system, these measures will ensure a more organized and resource-efficient process for everyone involved.

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