CANADA is reviewing the first application from a Hongkong shipping company to move its head office to Vancouver under a tax shelter plan, the International Maritime Centre (IMC). Under the scheme, Valles Steamship Co would be exempted from taxes on the international earnings of 12 ships. However, the federal government is concerned about the number of employees Valles wants to move to Canada, and the number of Canadian jobs it will create. Ms Linda Charles, Canada Employment and Immigration regional manager of labour market services, said: ''We have many considerations, taking into account whether permanent jobs or whether a mix of part-time and full-time jobs [were created]. ''We are reviewing the application, and will have an answer in a couple of weeks.'' A leading Canadian immigration consultant for many Hongkong shipowners said the eight-month delay on the Valles application had prompted his other shipping clients ''to wait and see'' how the application would be treated. ''Until the government moves, there will be no more announcements of applications,'' Mr Wilfred Vacheresse said. Since the 1991 inception of IMC, many shipowners have expressed concern over stalling on an immigrant-to-Canadian job ratio. As a result, only three firms - Valles, Ocean Island Marine and Fairmont Shipping - have set up representative offices in Canada. Hongkong Shipowners' Association director Michael Farlie was recently quoted as saying: ''Some Hongkong shipowners have relocated selected employees to either Vancouver or Singapore, partly to meet immigration requirements, and have reportedly met with difficulties. ''Immigration officials in Vancouver are treated with dread.'' Valles president David Koo has promised to create 24 new Canadian jobs as well as moving nine employees from Hongkong to Vancouver.