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Canada: Record number of immigrants in 2007

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According to statistics released by Canadian immigration authorities, Canada accepted the highest number of temporary and permanent residents in its history in 2007.

Canada admitted 429,649 permanent residents, temporary foreign workers, and foreign students -- more than 60,000 higher than four years ago, Citizenship and Immigration Canada said in a release.

"These numbers show that our immigration program is responding to Canada's needs, particularly our economic needs," Diane Finley, Minister of Citizenship and Immigration said. "Labor shortages are being felt in sectors across the country. Immigration is helping to meet labor demands and to ensure industries are able to remain competitive in the global economy."

Finley noted that immigration is taking on a more important role in supporting Canada's growing economy and the country will continue to bring in people with the right skills to address both short and long-term labor market needs.

"At the same time, we must also help ensure the success of immigrants by helping them settle and integrate into Canadian society," she added.

2007 saw a 12 percent increase in the number of temporary foreign workers which provided most of the boost in immigration numbers for the year. There was also a 4.6 percent increase in foreign students. Canada's skilled immigration program, a points based system similar to the UK's and Australia's systems, continues to be very popular and successful -- most migrants apply under this category.

Over 251,000 permanent resident visas were issued in 2007. Interestingly, only 236,689 of these visa holders had arrived in Canada by year's end. CIC said that it controls when visas are issued, but doesn't control when people use them. Permanent residents may decide to use their visa at any time during its validity.