Sun, Mar 19, 2017 - Page 16 News List

Vancouver eases home tax to attract foreign tech talent


British Columbia will exempt some immigrants from a 15 percent home buyer’s tax in a bid to ensure the Canadian province attracts skilled workers and entrepreneurs.

Foreign workers entering the country through a so-called Provincial Nominee Program will not have to pay the real-estate tax. The break will only apply to residents in the Vancouver area.

“Our growing tech sector depends” on the program, British Columbia Premier Christy Clark said in a statement on Friday. “That’s why we’re removing barriers, so they can get to work, create jobs, and help build BC.”

Vancouver, where workers need higher incomes to match the soaring cost of real estate, has sought to remodel itself from a 19th-century mining and lumber town into a high-tech mecca for animation design, startups and financial services.

When the province imposed the surprise foreign buyer’s tax in August last year, industry executives had warned it would make it harder for Vancouver to attract foreign talent.

British Columbia estimates about 30,000 job openings by 2025 will be filled by immigrants.

The exemption will only apply to foreigners buying principal residences in the Metro Vancouver region, the province said. Foreigners who become permanent residents or citizens within one year of buying a home will also be able to claim a rebate.

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