The Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB) is a non-government body that makes recommendations to the Australian Government about proposals by foreign investors to invest in Australia’s economy. These recommendations are generally based on whether an investment proposal by a foreign person is suitable for approval, having regard to the government’s foreign investment policy.
Essentially, foreign citizens living overseas who wish to invest in Australia will require FIRB approval before buying an investment property in Australia. There are exemptions for Australian citizens living abroad, New Zealand citizens and Australian permanent residents, who are generally not required to obtain FIRB approval to invest in real estate. For temporary residents (greater than 12 months), FIRB approval is not required for most types of real estate investment.
Generally speaking, foreign investors need to apply for FIRB approval for the following investment proposals:-
- the purchase of residential real estate – including established or new residential property, vacant land or recreational farms
- if foreign investors are purchasing a rural land
- if foreign investors are purchasing developed commercial real estate
- if foreign investors are purchasing a vacant commercial real estate for development
- if foreign investors are acquiring shares, business assets or dealing with an existing company for some other interest; and
- if foreign investors are establishing a new business or working on a new project.
We have an experienced team of property lawyers and migration agents who regularly act for both property developers and private clients to advise on or obtain FIRB approval for many different types of properties and developments. Our team can guide you through the FIRB approval process and advise whether your proposed acquisition requires FIRB approval or whether an exemption may apply.
Please call us on (07) 5526 0157 to book a consultation and speak with one of our solicitors about any aspect of the FIRB process, purchasing property or investing in Australia generally.