January 29, 2017 4:41 pm
Updated: January 30, 2017 9:24 am

B.C. to lift foreign buyers tax for people with work permits

WATCH: US President Donald Trump's newly instated muslim travel bans are having an unexpected affect here in BC. Today, the Premier made a surprise announcement in response to the bans, announcing a major change to the foreign buyers tax. Keith Baldrey has the details.

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B.C.’s premier has announced the province is lifting the 15 per cent foreign buyers tax for anyone living in Metro Vancouver with a work permit.

The move is an effort to encourage people to come to the province. Those who live, work and pay B.C. taxes will now be exempt from the additional property transfer tax.

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“People who are seeking refuge around the world should be able to find safe haven here in our province. We believe the best and the brightest should be able to come to B.C.,” Clark said during a media scrum at the Chinese New Year parade in Vancouver Sunday.

It appears the move is in response to Donald Trump’s executive order banning travel and immigration into the U.S. for people with passports in seven Middle East and North African countries.

“When we see what’s happening down in the United States, I think it’s important to send a message to people who may be wanting to come from America that they are welcome if they’re going to work here and pay taxes here, to buy a home here and make their life here, without buying that extra tax,” Clark told Global News.

The foreign buyers tax was implemented in July 2016 with an enormous amount of support from B.C. residents.

READ MORE: B.C. foreign buyers tax really did yank down Vancouver home prices: BMO

It has since contributed to falling residential real estate sales and a drop in prices, the first time in several years Metro Vancouver has since a reprieve from a skyrocketing market.

As of 2015, there were almost 15,000 work permit holders through the Temporary Foreign Workers program and another 48,000 through the International Mobility Program in B.C.

UBC economist Tom Davidoff previously told Global News that work permit holders should be exempt from the tax because they contribute to the Canadian economy.

WATCH: Premier Christy Clark explains why B.C. will be lifting the foreign buyers tax for people with work permits.

© 2017 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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