In the summer, Microsoft Corp. announced plans to open a large software development centre in Vancouver. One reason for setting up in Vancouver was a more relaxed work permit regime in Canada. Companies in the U.S. have more limited options for work permits, especially given the H-1B work visa cap which is set at 65,000 visas per year.

Canada's work permit regime includes a special category to facilitate obtaining work permits for software development workers. Foreign skilled workers can also more readily obtain permanent resident status. Some U.S. companies also transfer foreign workers who are reaching the end of their H-1B eligibility from their U.S. operations to related Canadian operations so that the skill set of the worker can continue to be used within the company.

Article from Info World re: New Microsoft office

Article from Seattle re: New Microsoft office