The province has expanded its exemptions to the foreign-buyer tax on real estate to include workers coming into B.C. under the provincial nominee program, Premier Christy Clark announced Friday.
She also said the government will rebate the tax to foreign nationals who become permanent residents of Canada within a year of purchasing a principal residence, so long as they lived in the home for a full year.
Because the 15-per-cent tax has helped cool Metro Vancouver’s property markets, Finance Minister Mike de Jong said the province “is now in a position to provide targeted relief to help ensure our province continues to attract skilled workers and entrepreneurs.”
In February, the government announced it would offer exemptions to the tax for foreign nationals living in Metro Vancouver who held work permits.
Also, people who arrived in B.C. on the provincial nominee program after Aug. 2, 2016, when the tax took effect, will be able to apply for retroactive exemptions.
In a news release, Clark said the revisions to the tax were made in part to help the province’s booming tech sector, which relies heavily on the provincial nominee program.
The province brought 6,000 skilled workers into the province using the nominee program in 2016, 900 of whom came here for jobs in technology. B.C. aims to bring another 6,000 workers to the province under the program this year.
“British Columbia has always welcomed the world’s best and brightest, where they find a place that embraces them,” Clark said in the news release.
In making the announcement, the Ministry of Finance distributed job-creation figures showing that employment growth in B.C.’s tech sector, at 2.9 per cent, exceeded the overall provincial average of 2.5 per cent employment growth.
The province estimates that one-third of new job openings expected by 2025 will have to be filled by immigrants, according to ministry calculations.