Immigration Minister Elinor Caplan announced Wednesday that Canada will go ahead with plans for tamper-proof identification for immigrants.

The cards, Caplan said, will reduce fraud involving Canadian immigration documents.

"We're very aware that since the (invention) of the photocopier and the colour photocopier that our documents are open to fraudulent use and we want to stop that," Caplan said.

But Caplan denied suggestions that there are roughly 200,000 people living in Canada illegally, saying that the number was closer to 18,000 or 20,000.

Canada is one of the few developed countries still accepting large numbers of immigrants every year. This year, Ottawa increased its annual target number of new immigrants from 225,000 to 235,000, and is expected to increase that figure to 300,000 people every year.

The new cards will also make travelling abroad much easier for permanent residents who aren't citizens and don't carry Canadian passports.

They have a lot of paperwork to deal with every time they enter the country. The new photo-ID cards would store their information on a chip or strip.

Presenting the card at the border would speed up the process and avoid hassles, Caplan said.