Hi, How Can We Help You?


June 25, 2024

Canada enhances applicants’ fairness by ending post-graduation work permit “flagpoling”

NEWS RELEASE: The safe and secure flow of products and people over the Canada-United States border is vital to North America’s economy and the intimate personal relationships that Canadians and Americans share.

That is why we continue to seek for methods to make it easier and faster to cross the border while maintaining the integrity of our immigration system.

The Honourable Marc Miller, Minister of Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship, stated on June 21 that foreign nationals would no longer be able to apply for a post-graduate work permit (PGWP) at the border, effective immediately.

This step will assist reduce “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.

Flagpolling consumes significant resources at the border, diverting police away from enforcement tasks, generating delays for travelers and impeding the transit of products.

From March 1, 2023 to February 29, 2024, PGWP applicants constituted around one-fifth of all foreign nationals who attempted to flagpole.

The Government of Canada is taking steps to encourage candidates to apply in Canada rather than through a flagpole. We continue to enhance processing times and are transitioning to a more connected, updated, and centralized working environment to help accelerate application processing internationally.

The measure announced today improves application fairness and is another step in the Canadian government’s efforts to decrease flagpoling.

We will continue looking for ways to reduce flagpoling so our shared border with the US runs smoothly and efficiently, benefitting both our nations.

“While we continue to support and recognize the contributions of international graduates to Canada’s labour 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 Honourable Marc Miller, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship

“Flagpoling places an undue burden on our border services officers. With this change, we’re taking a measured approach to combatting the issue and putting an even greater focus on maintaining the integrity of our shared border with the United States.”

The Honourable Dominic LeBlanc, Minister of Public Safety, Democratic Institutions and Intergovernmental Affairs.

Quick facts
In most cases, a study permit expires 90 days after the expected completion of an international student’s study program. When an eligible graduating student applies online for a PGWP before their study permit expires, they can work full-time while they wait for approval on a work permit and receive an automated letter that can be shown to employers. When a work permit is approved, it’s mailed directly to them.

Flagpoling hours were recently reduced at 12 ports of entry across Canada to allow border services officers to efficiently process the large volume of travellers in peak periods and to focus on other key priorities, including high-risk travellers and trade facilitation.

Other recent measures to address flagpoling have included:

  • speeding up processing times for in-Canada work permit applications
  • simplifying online application forms and processes so foreign nationals can continue working while they wait for a decision on their new application
  • authorizing workers to start working for a new employer right away, rather than waiting to have their new work permit application processed before changing jobs