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Canada to admit more young white-collar immigrants

Photo by Sascha Pohflepp via Creative Commons

Immigration Minister Jason Kenney announced Wednesday his intention to make amendments to Canada's immigration policy to admit more young professionals and to recognize foreign credentials earned abroad.

The Canadian Press has the story:

OTTAWA - Immigration Minister Jason Kenney plans to hold immigration levels steady next year, but the mix of immigrants will change.

Kenney has tabled his 2011 annual report and it shows Ottawa wants to accept between 240,000 and 265,000 newcomers in 2012.

That's the same as this year and in keeping with the annual average of 254,000 over the past few years.

But the mix of immigrants is changing, sources tell The Canadian Press.

For starters, Kenney is expected to announce that the number of Canadian-experience class immigrants will rise.

That class includes white-collar workers in certain occupations, many already with experience or education in Canada. It was created in 2008 and the Conservative government believes it has been very successful in attracting immigrants who adapt quickly to Canadian life, find jobs and add to economic growth soon after settling here.

Sources say that in 2012, Ottawa will accept about 7,000 newcomers in that category, the highest number ever, and up slightly from 2011.

Kenney has said he wants to bring in younger and more professional immigrants, but he has yet to say who will be discouraged from coming as the number of younger, skilled workers rises.

"For immigration to continue to support our economy's development, it is crucial that we maintain an immigration system that responds to Canada's economic needs in a timely manner,'' Kenney said in the introduction to the 2011 annual report.

He is expected to release more details about the mix of immigrants throughout this week, likely focusing on the provincial nominee program that allows provinces to manage inflows of skilled labour to suit their needs.

Kenney said he also plans changes to Canada's foreign credentials recognition regime.

Ottawa already has fast-tracking systems for eight occupations and will add another six occupations next year, he said.

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