India, China top as Canada admits record immigrants in 2010

February 14th, 2011 - 2:30 pm ICT by IANS  

By Gurmukh Singh
Toronto, Feb 14 (IANS) India and China lead the pack as Canada welcomed the highest number of immigrants in more than 50 years by admitting 280,636 permanent residents in 2010.This new number is about 60,000 higher than the average annual intake of permanent residents in recent years, according to a statement by Immigration and Citizenship Canada. Canada has admitted between 240,000 and 265,000 immigrants annually in recent years.

Though there is no break-down of country-wise figures, India and China remain top sources of immigration for Canada. On average, about 35, 000 Indians make Canada their new home in each year.

Releasing the annual report here Sunday, Jason Kenney, Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism, said, “While other Western countries cut back on immigration during the recession, our government kept legal immigration levels high. Canada’s post-recession economy demands a high level of economic immigration to keep our economy strong.”

He said, “In 2010, we welcomed the highest number of permanent residents in the past 50 years to support Canada’s economic recovery while taking action to maintain the integrity of Canada’s immigration system with the introduction of the Preventing Human Smugglers from Abusing Canada’s Immigration System Act.”

With two-thirds of those admitted in 2010 being skilled and economic immigrants and their dependants, the minister said the backlog of over 640,000 people in the skilled worker category with wait period of up to six years has now been reduced to 335,000.

“I’m very pleased that a higher number of admissions in 2010 means that more people are now out of the lineup and well on their way to beginning a new life in Canada,” Kenney said.

During this period, Canada also admitted 182,322 temporary foreign workers and 96,147 foreign students.

Canada now allows foreign students to apply for permanent residency from within the country under the Canadian Experience category introduced in 2008.

Foreign students contribute more than $6.5 billion to the Canadian economy each year.

Though Canada currently admits only 3,500 Indian students each year, these numbers are going to increase rapidly as Canadian universities and colleges ramp up their enrollment from India.

(Gurmukh Singh can be contacted at gurmukh.s@ians.in)

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