31 December 2008

Philippines takes over China as number one source of Canadian immigrants

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For the first time, Filipinos are the largest source of immigrants and temporary workers for Canada, overtaking the traditionally largest source country China, reports globeandmail.com.

The number of Filipinos who chose to move to Canada permanently and temporarily rose to 19,064 immigrants and 15,254 temporary workers in 2007, surpassing China's numbers.  During 2005-07, the number of Chinese people who moved to Canada decreased by one-third, while those from India (the second largest source) dropped by 20 per cent over the same period.  Meanwhile, over the past decade, the number of Filipinos migrating to Canada has more than doubled.

Jack Jedwab, executive director of the Association for Canadian Studies, said the figures represent changing economic conditions and employment requirements for nations around the world. 

"Fewer Chinese workers are coming in because of the economic boom there, and we are filling service-sector jobs with Filipinos," Mr Jedwab told reporters.

Altogether, Canada granted 236,758 permanent residency Canadian visas last year and 115,470 temporary Canadian work permits.  The latter category nearly doubled since 1998. 

Flordeliz Dandal, executive director of the Kababayan Community Centre in Toronto, said the Filipino community are largely focused on sending remittances to family left in the Philippines.

"Most Filipinos who come to Canada are really motivated to work and then send their salaries back home," Ms Dandal said.  "They don't care about politics, and they don't yet have time to engage in Canadian political life unless they have been here a long time."

Teachers, nurses and caregivers are the most popular occupations for Filipinos, and two-thirds are women.  Last month in the Philippines, 89,000 people took the professional board exam for nursing, with many looking to obtaining employment overseas.

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Article by Jessica Bird, Canadian Visa Bureau.

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