What is the change? Canada Border Services Agency has advised that several ports of entry in southern Ontario – Fort Erie, Niagara Falls, Queenstown and Rainbow Bridge – have restricted their schedules for accepting applications for permanent residence landings and new work permits to Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays only. However, it is unclear whether the restriction applies to all such applications or only to “flagpoling” cases where individuals exit Canada briefly and turn around and re-enter in order to obtain a work permit quickly.

What does the change mean? The policy was announced Tuesday with immediate effect. As such, it remains unclear how broadly it will be applied. Until further clarification, foreign nationals seeking to complete permanent residence landings or new work permits at any of the four ports should do so only on Tuesdays, Wednesdays or Thursdays. Applicants appearing at other times risk being turned away.

  • Implementation time frame: Immediate and ongoing.
  • Visas/permits affected: Permanent residence landings, new work permit applications.
  • Who is affected: Foreign nationals seeking to complete a permanent residence landing or work permit application at one of the four border point.
  • Business impact: Business schedules may be affected, especially for individuals intending to enter Canada before the start of a work week.
  • Next steps: BAL is seeking clarification on whether the policy applies to all permanent resident landings and work permit applications or only flagpoling cases.

BAL Analysis: This is the first week that the restricted schedule has been implemented, so it may not be clear until Friday how broadly Canadian Border authorities are applying the policy. Until further notice, travelers should take a cautious approach and make point-of-entry applications at the four ports only on Tuesdays through Thursdays.

This alert has been provided by the BAL Global Practice group and our network provider located in Canada. For additional information, please contact your BAL attorney.

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