CBC : Microsoft Canada Excellence Centre to bring 400 jobs to Vancouver
Vancouver Sun : Microsoft to open new centre in Vancouver, 400 new jobs
HuffPo : Microsoft Canada Announces Vancouver Centre, 400 Jobs
.... all of them pretty obviously based on the same Microsoft press release
Yesterday CBC was somewhat less buoyant about that whole 400 jobs angle, given they will all be going to foreign IT workers :
Tech giant exempted from new rules for finding Canadians to fill jobs
which garnered some 2500+ furious comments about those jobs not going to Canadians.
As noted here at Creekside last June, truth is those jobs never were going to Canadians. .
Microsoft has been planning to expand their Vancouver sales office since 2007 to circumvent US H1-B immigration restrictions on importing foreign IT specialists :
"The new software development center will open somewhere in the Vancouver, British Columbia, area and will be "home to software developers from around the world," Microsoft said in a statement on Thursday."The Vancouver area is a global gateway with a diverse population, is close to Microsoft's corporate offices in Redmond, and allows the company to recruit and retain highly skilled people affected by immigration issues in the U.S.," Microsoft said."
As Microsoft’s deputy general counsel Karen Jones repeated to Businessweek last May : Vancouver Welcomes Tech Companies Hampered by US Work Visa Caps :
“The U.S. laws clearly did not meet our needs,” she says. “We have to look to other places.” Microsoft opened a small office in Vancouver in 2007, when U.S. visa applications for the first time quickly surpassed the congressional limit.
Microsoft will hire and train 400 software developers from around the world to work on mobile and cloud projects. Jones says Microsoft didn’t choose to expand in Vancouver “purely for immigration purposes, but immigration is a factor.”
The Canadian government will grant the imported IT workers 24 month visas to work at Microsoft's Centre of Excellence - 12 months more than is required by rules under intra-company transfers before they can be cycled into the US. They are not required to apply for LMIAs due to a special exemption deal between BC and Ottawa, with a special Microsoft exemption on top. Citizenship and Immigration Canada :
"Even though Microsoft’s Rotational Program is generally 18 months in duration, a 24-month work permit will be issued so that the employee may continue to perform Rotational Program job duties until they are transitioned by Microsoft into a new position elsewhere."
So Microsoft gets an immigration turnstile outpost in Vancouver, and in return they promise to hire a few paid Canadian interns.
As also noted here last June, lead lobbyist on this file is frequent CBC Power&Politics panelist Geoff Norquay of Earnscliffe Strategy Group, who formerly worked for both Harper and Mulroney. Currently lobbying for Microsoft, CIBC, and Shaw, Mr. Norquay has previously represented Monsanto, BC Fish Farmers, Shell, and SNC-Lavalin :
Client name: Microsoft Canada
Lobbyist name: Geoff Norquay, Consultant
Initial registration start date: 2006-04-06 to present
Office of the Commissioner of Lobbying of Canada
- Discussions with federal officials in the Departments of Employment and Social Development, Citizenship and Immigration, Industry Canada and Privy Council Office regarding the establishment of the British Columbia Excellence Centre to facilitate entry into Canada of foreign nationals to work in software development on a rotational basis under the Temporary Foreign Workers Program.
Meanwhile out here in BC, Christy Clark and her ministers of jobs and technology have been meeting with other Microsoft lobbyists this the past year : "To support Microsoft's efforts to communicate its various activities in BC relating to the recently announcement BC Centre of Excellence in Vancouver."
Microsoft also has several Centres of Excellence in India, Ireland, Cairo, Dubai, etc.In July Microsoft announced it was cutting 18,000 jobs or about 14% of its full-time workforce, with further cuts pending to its 80,000 external staff.