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Canada Halts Work Permit Applications at US–Canada Border

Canada’s minister of immigration has announced that foreign nationals will no longer be allowed to apply for a work permit at the border.

Marc Miller explained that the decision to eliminate border applications for post-graduation work permits (PGWP) is aimed at reducing “flagpoling,” a practice where temporary residents circumvent visa wait times by leaving and re-entering on the same day to apply for the permit at the border crossing.

“While we continue to support and recognize the contributions of international graduates to Canada’s labour market, ‘flagpoling’ is unnecessary,” Mr. Miller stated in a June 21 statement. “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.”

Preventing these types of applications, he added, will help maintain the integrity of Canada’s immigration system.

According to government data, about 20 percent of PGWP applications between March 1, 2023, and Feb. 29, 2024, were border applications.

“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,” Minister of Public Safety Dominic LeBlanc said in a statement.

Immigration Increase

The announcement follows the federal government’s crackdown on immigration, particularly study permits.

In January, Mr. Miller announced a 35 percent decrease in study permits issued, to 360,000.

Recently released information shows that in 2023, over 980,000 study permits were issued to foreign students.

Mr. Miller stated that the number of study permits for 2025 will be determined after an assessment of the situation.

StatCan previously reported that Canada’s population is the fastest growing in the G7 and ranks seventh in the G20, with a population exceeding 41 million.

A StatsCan study revealed that while Canada is experiencing a significant increase in immigration, there has been a decline in the number of immigrants becoming citizens, dropping by nearly 30 percent since 1996.

In 2021, 45.7 percent of recent immigrants sought residency, and the citizenship rate in Canada declined faster from 2016 to 2021 than in any other five-year period since 1996.

Additionally, about 15 percent of immigrants reportedly leave Canada within 20 years of arrival, with the majority departing between three and seven years after arrival.

About 500,000 immigrants are expected to move to Canada in 2024, a number that is causing concern among Canadians due to issues such as lack of housing and access to healthcare, as indicated by a poll from Abacus Data.

“Two in three Canadians (67 percent) believe the current immigration target is too high, increasing by 6 points since July,” the research authors said.

Two in five Canadians believe the number of immigrants is “way too high,” while only 2 percent feel it is too low.

The poll also found that less than a quarter of Canadians see immigration as having a positive impact on the country, with 43 percent stating it has a negative effect.

Jennifer Cowan contributed to this article.

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