Microsoft’s new B.C. workforce may consist mostly of foreigners: draft plan

Interesting reading:

The freedom of information documents, given to CBC News by a third party who works in the industry, reveal Microsoft Canada initially promised that only only 20 of those 400 new jobs — or five per cent — would go to Canadians. The documents also suggest that, through a variety of programs including the controversial Temporary Foreign Worker program (TFWP), the majority of the new workers would come from abroad.

The plans date from 2013 and 2014, and include letters and briefing notes from Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) and British Columbia’s Ministry of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training. They show:

150 positions would be open to both Canadians and foreigners as “rotational employees” who would be brought in under the TFWP program with “no guaranteed number of Canadians.”

200 “core employees” would be brought in at the “executive [level], management or those with specialized knowledge,” but the company only committed that 10 per cent of those 200 core employees would be Canadian. The document states the number of Canadians “is likely to grow over time.”

50 positions would go to “foundry employees” — paid student interns from Canadian universities. But the document stipulates that some of those students could be international students, and do not have to be Canadians.

The documents also show that, in the planning stages, most of the 200 “core” employees at the Microsoft Centre of Excellence were expected to be foreign workers from three categories: intra-company transfers (people who have worked at least one year for Microsoft abroad); those brought in under the TFWP; and contract workers hired abroad who qualify to work in Canada under the North American Free Trade Agreement.

…In December, CIC told CBC News “most” of the 400 jobs would be held by Canadians.

However, in a written statement yesterday, Microsoft Canada made no such promise. Instead, the company said a majority of its current workforce in Vancouver is Canadian, but that may not last for long.

“[As] we hire staff for our new excellence centre, we will be recruiting talent from around the world (in addition to Canada), which may result in that balance shifting,” officials with the company wrote.

Despite requests from CBC News, neither Microsoft Canada nor B.C.’s jobs ministry provided any updated ratios of foreign to Canadian workers.

In an email, a spokesman for B.C. Jobs Minister Shirley Bond said the training centre will provide a “net benefit” by bringing in “at least $90 million annually for up to 10 years.”

Bond’s spokesman said no Canadians would be displaced from their jobs by the creation of the centre — although he would not say what proportion of the new positions would go to Canadians, calling that “proprietary information” belonging to Microsoft.

Seems like CIC may have exaggerated the initial job figures (doesn’t necessary mean that longer-term impact greater).

Microsoft’s new B.C. workforce may consist mostly of foreigners: draft plan – Politics – CBC News.

About Andrew
Andrew blogs and tweets public policy issues, particularly the relationship between the political and bureaucratic levels, citizenship and multiculturalism. His latest book, Policy Arrogance or Innocent Bias, recounts his experience as a senior public servant in this area.

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