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Job-hurting Canada may cut immigration

OTTAWA, Feb. 11 (UPI) -- Canada's planned immigration rate of 265,000 for 2009 may be scaled back if unemployment remains high, the federal minister says.

Speaking to the all-party parliamentary Citizenship and Immigration Committee, Minister Jason Kenney said the country's unemployment rate of 7.2 percent would be monitored in coming months and adjustments could be made, the Toronto Star reported.

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"We don't want people to be coming to Canada and facing unemployment," Kenney said. "We need to be flexible, prudent and ensure that our response to short-term conditions does not counter our long-term goals, in which immigration will play a significant role."

The original cap of 265,000 new permanent residents includes 156,600 immigrants in the economic category, 71,000 in the family category and 37,400 humanitarian cases, the Star said.

Kenney also announced Canada is increasing the number of refugees it will accept this year from Iraq to 3,900, up from 2,000 last year, the Canwest News Service reported.

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