OTTAWA - Immigration Minister Jason Kenney is dribbling out more details about the mix of immigrants he wants to bring to Canada next year.

He says Ottawa plans to admit between 55,000 and 57,000 federal skilled workers, an increase from 2011's approximate target of 47,000.

The increase is in keeping with Kenney's push to speed up and increase the number of white-collar and skilled workers coming into Canada.

Earlier this week, the Immigration Department's annual report showed that overall immigration levels for next year will remain at about 255,000.

But since the numbers of skilled workers are on the rise, Kenney says it means fewer immigrants in other categories, especially live-in caregivers, spouses and dependent children.

Kenney says research by his department shows the federal skilled-worker program is successful at finding newcomers who adapt easily to Canadian life and quickly find jobs. A study last year found that 89 per cent had jobs or were self-employed within three years of arrival.

"The government's No. 1 priority remains the economy," Kenney said in a statement. "We recognize the importance of immigration to our labour market and we value the contributions of skilled immigrants who add to our international competitiveness.

"We are committed to facilitating the arrival of the best and the brightest to our country."

The Opposition NDP does not object to Kenney's emphasis on skilled workers, but believes the government should gradually raise the overall number of immigrants coming to Canada in order to better deal with expected worker shortages in a few years' time.