Canada plans to admit between 240,000 and 265,000 new permanent residents to the country in 2007 under new immigration targets.
In tabling its annual report to Parliament on Tuesday, Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) unveiled the highest immigration targets for 25-years, and expects the final figure for this year to come close to the current target of 255,000 migrants.
2005 saw 262,236 new migrants accepted into Canada, of which 156,310 were in the Economic Class that includes skilled workers, investors, provincial nominees and live-in carers. The 2007 aim is to admit 15,000 more skilled workers than in 2005.
Whilst Canada is looking to attract more skilled workers, the proportion of family class immigrants will drop, and CIC has announced that it will freeze the number of grandparents and parents at between 18,000 and 19,000.
China still provides more new arrivals than any other country (16 per cent), followed by India (13 per cent) and the Philipines (7 per cent).
In his preface to the report, Immigration Minister Monte Solberg said Canada's new Tory Government believes immigration will play an important role in building the country and helping the economy grow.
He wrote: "Each newcomer has a story to tell: whether they are bringing their skills and entrepreneurial talents to help Canada’s economy grow; reuniting with family members; or seeking security and stability.
"Canada needs the talent and dynamism that immigrants bring. In an internationally competitive global market for talent, Canada is facing skills shortages at home in particular sectors and in specific regions of the country.
"Immigration has a role to play in addressing labour market challenges and my goal is to ensure the immigration program better responds to our needs as a country in a way that is fair, transparent and adheres to the rule of law, while protecting the health, safety and security of Canadians."
Last Spring's budget saw $307-million pledged for language training and other settlement services, and $18-million for an agency to assess and recognize foreign credentials.
Recent legislation changes aimed at reducing the skills shortage also now allow for foreign students foreign students to work off-campus while they study.
Top 10 countries of origin, 2005 - CICChina: 42,491
South Korea: 5,819