A record number of expats moved to Canada in 2012, setting a record high for the seventh year in a row.
Figures released by Citizenship and Immigration Canada reveal that the country saw 257,515 residents move in.
Canada has allowed on average, since 2006, around 250,000 immigrants to settle, giving the nation one of the highest per-capita immigration rates in the world.
The government says so many expats are needed to fulfil ambitions for the economy, generate jobs and boost prosperity in the long-term for everyone in the country.
To help reach these aspirations, Canada has introduced a new immigration system to attract desperately needed and highly skilled migrant workers.
Popular expat destination
Canada’s Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister, Jason Kenney, said: “The government is continuing to move toward a modern and effective immigration system that attracts the skilled immigrants that Canada’s economy requires.
“This new fast and flexible system will respond more effectively to Canada’s labour market needs, support family reunification, and provide protection to genuine refugees.”
However, the department’s figures also reveal that Canada is not only a popular destination for expats but also international students.
Last year, more than 100,000 students arrived from around the world, and this figure also set a new record for the country.
That’s an increase of 60% on 2004 figures and Canada says the country offers students incredible opportunities in education thanks to world class universities.
The huge number of foreign students contributes more than £5 billion a year to Canada’s economy, according to the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade.
Paul Davidson, president of the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada, said that international students made a major contribution to the economy and brought new perspectives and cultures to campuses.
Record student numbers
Canada has also made itself even more attractive to international students since it changed the rules to allow some of those studying at certain institutions to take up part-time jobs.
Last year’s figures are up slightly for the previous record figure set in 2011 when 248,751 expats were accepted.
The Canadian government has set a figure for annual immigration of between 240,000 and 265,000 to be one the most immigrant-friendly countries in the world.
In comparison, the neighbouring United States accepts around a million expats every year, which is around 0.4% of the population, while Canada’s number equates to approximately 0.8% of the population.
The numbers could increase in the years to come since some Canadian economists and business groups say that immigration should be increased and they say the country could accept around 400,000 new citizens every year.