Immigration to Canada is the process by which people migrate to Canada to reside in the country. The majority of these individuals become Canadian citizens. After 1947, domestic immigration law and policy went through major changes, most notably with the Immigration Act, 1976, and the current Immigration and Refugee Protection Act from 2002. Canadian immigration policies are still evolving. As recent as in 2008, Citizenship and Immigration Canada has made significant changes to streamline the steady flow of immigrants. The changes included reduced professional categories for skilled immigration as well as caps for immigrants in various categories. Since 2001, immigration has ranged between 221,352 and 262,236 immigrants per annum.
In Canada there are four categories of immigrants: family class (closely related persons of Canadian residents living in Canada), economic immigrants (skilled workers and business people), other (people accepted as immigrants for humanitarian or compassionate reasons) and refugees (people who are escaping persecution, torture or cruel and unusual punishment). According to the 2001 census by Statistics Canada, Canada has 33 ethnic groups with at least one hundred thousand members each, of which 10 have over 1,000,000 people and numerous others represented in smaller amounts. 16.2% of the population belonged to visible minorities.