In major immigrant-receiving countries, annual foreign-born tuberculosis (TB) case counts and rates are relatively constant. Why this is so, and who might be a high-yield target for screening for latent TB infection, remain open questions. Foreign-born TB in Canada during 1986-2002 was retrospectively examined using national TB and immigration data as well as census data. Case counts and rates were analysed in relation to demographics, immigration period and time since arrival. Pre-1986 immigrants (n=3,860,853) and 1986-2002 immigrants (n=3,463,283) contributed 8,662 and 9,613 TB cases, respectively. Immigrants arriving = 5 yrs ago and those arriving >10 yrs ago contributed almost equally to the annual foreign-born TB case count despite a 3.5-fold difference in in-country person-yrs. Remarkably stable and relatively low TB incidence was observed among immigrants >10 yrs post-arrival. Conversely, TB incidence within 5 yrs of arrival was dynamic, demonstrating a strong inverse association with time since arrival and higher sensitivity to changes in immigration level than shifts toward higher incidence source countries. Relative constancy in foreign-born TB incidence is explained by a complex convergence of several factors. Immigrants born in high-incidence countries who arrived = 2 yrs ago and were aged 15-34 yrs upon arrival constitute high-yield targets for preventive therapy.