Will H-1B caps force the next Google to open in Vancouver?

Elinor Mills over at CNET asked that question yesterday and the comments have been flying in.

The window for U.S. companies to submit their H-1B visa applications for next year opens today and ends on Monday. And Google’s not very happy about the details. Neither are Microsoft and other tech companies. They want the government to increase the number of visas that companies can get to hire foreign workers. More than 150,000 applications are expected to be submitted this year, more than double the annual limit of 65,000.

Most large technology companies point to hundreds of job listings that they can’t fill because of the lack of qualified U.S .candidates, they say. In the long run, if they can’t hire enough skilled workers here, development and engineering offices are more likely to open elsewhere: H-1B concerns already prompted Microsoft to open a new programming center in Vancouver.

Boris Mann of Bootup Labs covered Bill Gates’ thoughts on this topic three weeks ago and hinted at the fact that the Vancouver Development Center might be a temporary refuge for new Microsoft employees and serve as a stepping stone to Redmond. According to a comment from an anonymous Microsoft employee on Mann’s post, it looks like that’s not the case but only time will tell.