DALY CITY, California - The Philippines last year surpassed China and India as Canada's top source country for new immigrants. According to the latest data from the government, approximately 30,000 Filipinos became permanent residents last year, while 47,000 visitor visas were issued to Filipinos.
There are currently an estimated 650,000 Canadian residents who originated from the Philippines. Some experts would argue that that figure is in fact much higher, reported Immigration.ca.
There are many reasons that Canada has become an attractive destination for Filipino citizens seeking opportunities. The labour shortages, combined with the high quality of life are attracting record numbers.
Filipinos bring much to the table for Canadian employers as well. Most citizens are quite adept at speaking English, one of the biggest challenges faced by many newcomers to the country.
They are also known for working hard and being adaptable to Canadian life. Many choose to settle in smaller urban and rural centers, as opposed to the majority of newcomers who head to Montreal, Toronto or Vancouver.
"[Filipinos] are committed to being citizens, to being volunteers, to being public minded," says Immigration Minister Chris Alexander. "People like them because they take up challenges beyond just working and finding a place to live."
Employers in Canada have increasingly been importing temporary workers from the Philippines for years now, and many of those workers are able to apply for permanent residency within two years of arriving in Canada.
Despite recent controversy over temporary foreign workers, Minister Alexander says that his government is committed to helping employers find the labour they so desperately need - particularly in the booming Prairie provinces.
The government has been working to improve the temporary programme so that worker's rights are ensured and those who are most needed are able to come and build a life for themselves and their families in Canada.