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Canada announces immigration levels for 2017

Canada announces immigration levels for 2017

Ottawa: The Canadian government has announced that it will allow 300,000 immigrants into the country in 2017.

This is the same number as in 2016 even though an expert panel has recommended to raise immigration levels.

John McCallum, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, on Monday tabled the immigration proposal for 2017 in the parliament.

"The 2017 levels plan will put Canada in a strong position for the future and support our overall economic and social development as a country," McCallum said.

A government statement said the 2017 levels are "a thoughtful, responsible approach that takes into consideration Canada's need for more immigrants while balancing our fiscal responsibilities."

The announcement comes amid warnings from the Liberal Party's economic council of advisers that Canada needs to raise immigration levels by the tens of thousands in order to ensure better economic growth. The council recommended the government gradually increase immigration levels to 450,000 per year over the next five years, Xinhua news agency reported.

The target number of immigrants from 2011 to 2015 was 260,000, but swelled to 300,000 this year because of what McCallum called the "special circumstances" of the Syrian refugee crisis.

There has been much debate over the targeted immigration number at a time when Canada struggles with high unemployment.

The 2017 target boosts entries for those in the economic class -- skilled workers, business people and care-givers -- to 172,500 from 160,600.

In the family class, the number of sponsored spouses, partners, children, parents and grandparents will climb to 84,000 from 80,000.

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