British Columbia has made foreign nationals working in high-tech jobs exempt from paying real estate tax, clarifying the province’s commitment to skilled workers and entrepreneurs from abroad.
The exemption only applies to foreign nationals residing in the Vancouver area and carrying work permits obtained through the Provincial Nominee Program.
“Our growing tech sector depends on the program,” Premier Christy Clark said in a statement. “That’s why we’re removing barriers, so they can get to work, create jobs, and help build British Columbia.”
The tax was imposed in August 2016 to control the soaring real estate prices, largely due to the rising stream of homebuyers from China.
Once a mining and lumber town, Vancouver now wants to become a technology hub.
Technology employment rose 2.9% last year, surpassing British Columbia’s overall employment growth of 2.5% and the national tech sector employment growth of 1.1%.
The province expects immigrants to fill one-third of the nearly one million positions estimated to be created by 2025. The government has urged local residents not to be worried about non-Canadians snatching their jobs.
“Even if every eligible person in British Columbia is trained, there would not be enough workers to fill those openings,” says the government.
The province has also offered rebates on property transfer tax for foreign nationals. To be eligible, they must continuously reside in the property as their principal residence for one full year.