Canada Welcomes a Record High Number of Newcomers in 2008

Canada welcomed an unprecedented number of permanent and temporary residents in 2008, according to preliminary data released by Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) today.

“While other countries are talking about taking fewer immigrants, today, I am pleased to announce that in 2008, we increased the number of new permanent residents to Canada,” said Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney.

Canada welcomed 247,202 permanent residents in 2008, 70,000 more than in 1998, and well within the government’s planned range of 240,000 to 265,000 new permanent residents for the year. An additional 193,061 temporary foreign workers and 79,459 foreign students resulted in a combined total of 519,722 newcomers for the year.

The higher number of temporary foreign workers reflects increased demand in the Canadian labour market last year. The hiring of temporary foreign workers is based on employers’ needs and labour market demand.

“Our government will not follow the advice of those who believe that Canada should take steps to reduce immigration levels. In fact, we are maintaining our planned immigration levels for 2009,” said Minister Kenney. “As minister responsible for multiculturalism, I am particularly concerned by short-sighted, divisive rhetoric that pits immigrants against Canadians in our economy.”

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