updated 7/5/2007 4:53:07 PM ET 2007-07-05T20:53:07

Microsoft Corp. plans to open a software development center in Canada this fall to attract talent and avoid U.S. immigration issues.

The Vancouver, British Columbia, location will be one of only a handful development centers outside the company's headquarters in Redmond, Wash., the software company said Thursday. It previously announced plans to build sites in Boston and Bellevue, Wash.

(MSNBC.com is a Microsoft-NBC Universal joint venture.)

Microsoft the Vancouver location will "allow the company to continue to recruit and retain highly skilled people affected by the immigration issues in the U.S."

Microsoft has been a vocal proponent of increasing the number of visas granted to skilled workers from outside the U.S. At the same time, the software maker has repeatedly said the U.S. is not producing enough engineers to fill its chairs, and argued that the U.S. education system fails to place enough emphasis on math and sciences.

"Microsoft is a global company, and our greatest asset is smart, talented, highly skilled people," said S. Somasegar, corporate vice president of the Developer Division at Microsoft, in a statement Thursday.

Microsoft Canada Co. was established in Mississauga, Ontario in 1985. The software, computer services and Internet technology development company has offices in Toronto, along with eight regional offices across Canada.

The company did not release any financial details on the new site, which is about 150 mils from Redmond.

Other centers are located in North Carolina, Ireland, Denmark and Israel, while full research-and-development sites have been built in the U.K., India, China and California's Silicon Valley.

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