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No More Post-Study Work Permits for Nigerians, Other International Students in Canada

Canada’s Immigration Ministry has announced that international students can no longer apply for a post-graduation work permit (PGWP) at Canada’s borders to reduce the bypass of wait times by temporary residents.

The announcement was made by Marc Miller, minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) who says the decision is to eliminate “flagpoling,” where temporary residents leave and immediately re-enter Canada to receive same-day immigration services, bypassing the normal wait times.

Flagpoling uses significant resources at the border, diverting officers from enforcement activities and causing delays for other travellers and goods. Between March 1, 2023, and February 29, 2024, PGWP applicants constituted about one-fifth of those attempting to flagpole, Canadian immigration reports.

“While we continue to support and recognize the contributions of international graduates to Canada’s labour market, ‘flagpoling’ is unnecessary,” the minister said. “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,” he added.

Nigerian students who previously relied on flagpole will need to adapt to the new online application process. However, Canada says it is improving processing times and moving towards a more modernised and centralised application processing environment to encourage more in-Canada applications.

Such efforts include speeding up processing times for in-Canada work permit applications, simplifying online application forms and processes, and authorising workers to start working for a new employer right away, rather than waiting to have their new work permit application processed before changing jobs.

Nigerian students in Canada will need to apply for their PGWP online rather than attempting to expedite the process through applications at the border. With this, students will need to apply early to get their applications processed sooner.

A study permit usually expires 90 days after the expected completion of a 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.

The reduction in flagpole hours at 12 Canadian ports of entry may also affect Nigerian migrants who previously relied on this method for quick processing. They will now need to adapt to the longer processing times within Canada.

IRCC reported that study permit approvals for Nigerian nationals spiked between 2019 and 2023. Approvals for Nigerian students went from 2,788 in 2019 to 23,930 in 2023, over a 758 per cent increase, which more than doubled between 2022 and 2023.

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Written by Charles Daisi

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