Canada to increase migrant intake in 2012

The Canadian Government has said it will boost the number of skilled visas in its 2012 migration intake, coinciding with the release of a research paper pushing for more skilled labour in the Canadian economy. Canadian Immigration Minister Jason Kenney has indicated the government will change its approach to immigration intake in 2012, opting for a greater focus on skilled migration. Mr Kenney told the Canadian Parliament of his department's intention to admit between 55,000 and 57,000 skilled workers in 2012, an increase of 8-10,000 from the current figure of 47,000. "The government's number one priority remains the economy," Kenney said. "We recognize the importance of immigration to our labour market and we value the contributions of skilled immigrants who add to our international competitiveness. "We are committed to facilitating the arrival of the best and the brightest to our country." In October, Kenney flagged the government's intention to keep the overall migration figure at 250,000 entrants per year. The government has not deviating from this pledge, suggesting that the increase in skilled migration will be at the direct expense of prospective migrants taking other Canadian visa paths. The decision to increase the skilled migration intake has been supported by a paper released by the Institute for Research on Public Policy, a non-partisan Quebec-based think-tank. The research paper said that Canada needs to focus more directly on importing skilled labour if it is to remain globally competitive. "Canada cannot afford to be complacent in seeking to attract and retain skilled workers," the report states. It also found that skilled migrants receive much higher wages upon entry to Canada and "easily made the most contribution to the country's labour market", relative to other migrant types. The report also recommended reform of the visa application process, with particular mention of amending processing wait times, the current points system and the recognition of foreign qualifications.

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