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Canada – The most welcoming country in the world

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Immigrant and temporary migrants have become increasingly important to population growth and to Canada’s economy.  Canadians are grateful for the contributions of workers from abroad, and have established a vast network of settlement services to help them feel at home.  A recent HSBC survey has given Canada the top spot in terms of how friendly and welcoming locals are to newcomers.

According to the HSBC Bank International’s Expat Explorer Survey, people who relocate to Canada have “a relatively easy time befriending locals, joining a local community group and learning the language.”  In fact, 95 per cent of those surveyed said that they have made friends with Canadian locals.  Germany was ranked a close second at 92 per cent, followed by Australia at 91 per cent.

The study surveyed 2,155 expats in 48 countries and measured the countries’ relative friendliness based on four categories: number of respondents who joined a community group, number who learned the local language, percentage who bought property, and respondents’ ability to befriend locals.

Canada has a strong settlement services network, with immigrant and temporary resident-serving organizations spread throughout the country in both large metropolitan areas and small communities alike.  Many of these organizations tailor their services to newcomers from specific nations or regions, adding a note of cultural understanding to the settlement process.

Thanks to immigration, the Canadian population continues to grow steadily, now comprising 33,441,300 people.  According to Statistics Canada, the population grew more in the past three months than it has in any third quarter since 1990, adding 129,900 people since July.  71,300 of these people are newcomers to the country.

Just recently, the Philippines became Canada’s largest source country for immigrants and temporary workers combined, overtaking China which had been the top source country for years.  19,064 Permanent Residents and 15,254 temporary workers from the Philippines arrived in Canada in 2007.  Aside from Americans, more Filipinos arrived in Canada as temporary foreign workers than any other nationality.

Jack Jedwab, executive director of the Association for Canadian Studies, says that the increase is partly explained by Canada’s focus on temporary workers, and the fact that many Filipinos fill caregiver and service-sector jobs in British Columbia, Alberta, and Ontario.

In terms of the number of Permanent Residents in Canada, Chinese-Canadians and Indian-Canadians make up the two largest groups, although their numbers have dropped in recent years.  The Filipino population makes up the third largest group.  Its size has more than doubled in the past five years.

In 2007, Canada admitted 236,758 Permanent Residents and 115,470 temporary workers.  Annual temporary foreign worker numbers have nearly doubled since 1998.

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