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Flagpoling: A Guide For Canadian Workers

Discussion in 'General - All Canadian Immigration' started by ThreeSquareImm, Apr 15, 2013.

  1. Just thought I would put together a helpful guide in regards to flagpoling. Happy to answer any questions that anyone has!

    Here is a link to a PDF copy: http://goo.gl/Qxu8U

    A Guide for Canadian Workers

    Flagpoling is a term that describes the process of applying at a Canadian Port of Entry after a brief visit to the United States. This process is quite practical for workers in Canada who are eligible to apply for a work permit at the POE and do not want to wait weeks while their application is being processed in Vegreville.

    According to Regulation 198 (1) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations:

    198. (1) Application on entry - Subject to subsection (2), a foreign national may apply for a work permit when entering Canada if the foreign national is exempt under Division 5 of Part 9 from the requirement to obtain a temporary resident visa

    In plain English, who is eligible?

    1) Residents of the US, Greenland and St. Pierre and Miquelon
    2) Residents of TRV-exempt countries whose jobs are Labour Market Opinion-exempt
    3) Residents of TRV-exempt countries who have received and are in possession of a positive Labour Market Opinion (LMO)

    But what about those from TRV-Required countries?

    Many people are unaware that those from TRV-required countries are ALSO eligible to flagpole at the Canadian Point of Entry under Regulation 190 (3)(f)(i) and (ii) which state:

    190. (1) Visa exemption – purpose of entry – A foreign national is exempt from the requirement to obtain a temporary resident visa if they are seeking to enter and remain in Canada solely
    (f) to re-enter Canada following a visit solely to the United States or St.Pierre and Miquelon, if they
    (i) held a study permit or a work permit that was issued before they left Canada on such a visit or were authorized to enter and remain in Canada as a temporary resident, and
    (ii) return to Canada by the end of the period initially authorized for their stay or any extension to it

    In plain English, this means that if you already have a Canadian work or study permit and are from a TRV-required country, you are also eligible to apply for a work permit at the port of entry (flagpole).

    Some Particulars:
    a) You must provide a valid medical examination certificate from a Canadian DMP if:
    i) You wish to work in a job where it is important to protect public health such as health services, child care or education
    ii) You want to work in Canada for longer than 6 months and you have lived in a “designated” country for 6 months or longer in the year preceding your application (http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/information/medical/dcl.asp)
    b) Those applying under the Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program and the Live-in Caregiver Program are excluded from the ability to flagpole

    What You Need to Bring:
    1) Valid Passport
    2) Current Immigration document such as work permit, study permit, etc.
    3) Job Contract which has been signed by both you and the employer
    4) Positive Labour Market Opinion (if required)
    5) PNP Nomination Certificate (if required)
    6) PNP Work Permit Support Letter (if required)
    7) $150 CAD for Fee Payment
    8) Valid Medical Results (If required)

    NOTE: You are not required to bring a completed Work Permit application form. However, we always recommend that clients bring it along in case and present it only if requested by the CBSA officer.

    The Process:

    We send many of our clients to the Peace Arch Border Crossing in Surrey, BC which borders with the town of Blaine, Washington.

    There is a small provincial park located right off of Beach Avenue. We park the car there and walk to the American crossing. Once inside, we proceed to the Pedestrians counter and tell them that we are “Flagpoling” for a new work permit. They are quite familiar with the process and will give you an orange slip of paper known as an “Administrative Refusal.” This just means that you technically left Canada and have entered the US momentarily. Depending on the situation and your country of residence, you may be asked to pay $6 USD for this.

    Once you have the orange piece of paper, you walk back up to the Canadian border officer and head inside. Walk up to the counter and present yourself and documentation. Inform the CBSA officer that you would like to apply for your new work permit. He will then ask you for the documents which you have brought. Depending on your situation, you should be issued your new work permit in a matter of minutes!
    jsantanderm and avm like this.
  2. Thanks for that awesome guide!!
  3. hi, i got extended as a visitor for more than a year until September 2013. now, just last week a friend offered me a labourer job with an open LMO from their company and waiting for its approval in CIC-Edmonton. If i get the approved LMO, am i allowed or should i say risk doing the "flag pole" for the application of my work permit? or should i play it safe by sending my application for work permit to Canada Embassy in Los Angeles, USA. I have a valid US visa but my Canada Visa already expired last year, so technically what i have only is my temporary residence permit (visitor status) valid until September 2013. will there be any instances/reasons that somebody could be denied WP and risk being sent home instead. any reply or experiences would be greatly appreciated. thanks again
  4. Thanks ThreeSquareImm. That's a great piece of information.

    I am currently on Closed WP, but received PNP nomination, which is not employer specific. Now, I have only 1.5 months to expire my cureent closed WP, I do not wish to apply to regular online WP process and wait for 35-40 days to receive open WP.

    I have valid US B1 visa. Can I go for "flagpoling" and request for Open Work Permit ? In that case, if they approves, do they cancel or withdraw my current closed WP ?
    Please let me know.
  5. Hi ThreeSquareImm,

    Hoping you could answer the following: I'm currently 1 year into a 2 year LMO/TFW visa. I'm considering applying for a 2014 IEC 2 year visa (will be applying for the Irish program).
    Firstly, would IEC issue me with this, given that I currently have an active visa?
    Secondly, would I be able to activate the IEC visa by flagpoling (and would my previous visa simply get cancelled?)?
    I had originally planned to apply for residency, but budget and indecision about residency have led me to investigate this approach.


  6. See comments above.
  7. Good day.. I am from Brazil, currently in Canada holding a multiple-entry visitor visa. I got a job offer with a positive LMO. I was wondering if I can apply online and then do the flagpole in the Canadian-USA boarder to get my work permit..

    So my questions are:
    1. do I have to apply online and the flagpole?
    2. or can I apply directly at the boarder as I re-enter Canada?

    Thank you
  8. You don't need to apply online first.

    Just bring your LMO, $150, Job Contract, Resume and Passport to the border. No need for application forms - rookie move. Depending on the job, you may need to bring some copies of certificates (showing that you are eligible for the job)
  9. If you're holding a multiple entry visitor visa , it means you are from a " visa required country " .you need to apply for a work visa at the canadian embassy in São Paulo .thats how it was 1 1/2 years ago so , unless they changed some laws ,,, the answer for both of your questions is a NO - NO.
  10. Tillikun,

    You are not correct. Read IRPR S 190(3)(f)

    Foreign nationals who are admitted Temporary Residents to Canada and who are returning from a a trip to either the US, Greenland or St. Pierre and Miquelon are exempt from the need to obtain a TRV. Add this to R 198(1) which allows a FN to apply for the first or subsequent work permit at a POE as long as the FN as been initially authorized to enter Canada as a temporary resident and returns to Canada from the US by the end of period initially authorized for their stay and any extension to it.

    Get your facts straight.
  12. Thanuxxi is not from a visa exempt country , he is from Brazil !
    The main fact is that I did what he wants to do , and there was no work permit issued for me on that day . CBSA officer let me in ,but just as a visitor (luckily!!!).
    198. (1) Subject to subsection (2), a foreign national may apply for a work permit when entering Canada if the foreign national is exempt under Division 5 of Part 9 from the requirement to obtain a temporary resident visa.
  13. Read 190 (3)(f) - If he is from a visa required country, has a valid visa, goes to the US then comes back, he is considered visa exempt
  14. That section only states rules about :
    Division 5
    Temporary Resident Visa Exemptions

    Marginal note:Visa exemption — nationality

    190. (1) A foreign national is exempt from the requirement to obtain a temporary resident visa if they......etc etc etc .
    Our Brazilian friend is under a VISITOR visa and wants to go to US border ,get out of Canada and re- enter as a WORKER . Your 190 3 f will never apply to his situation .you need to start reading from :
    PART 11

    Division 1
    General Rules
    Division 2
    Application for Work Permit

    :Application before entry

    197. A foreign national may apply for a work permit at any time before entering Canada.
    Application on entry

    198. (1) Subject to subsection (2), a foreign national may apply for a work permit when entering Canada if the foreign national is exempt under Division 5 of Part 9 from the requirement to obtain a temporary resident visa.
  15. My friend, see the attached screenshots of a CBSA Memorandum regarding this topic:




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