The Australian Government’s foreign investment policy has been developed to encourage investment in Australia and ensure that such investment is consistent with the needs of the Australian community. The Government recognises the important contribution offshore investment makes to the development of Australia’s industry, resources and community.
If you are living overseas and are not an Australian citizen or do not have a permanent resident visa, your property purchase first needs to be approved by the Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB), details listed below:
Proposed acquisition of residential real estate is exempt from examination in the case of Australian citizens living abroad who are holders of permanent visas or entitled to hold a ‘special category’ visa.
Foreign interests are usually given approval to buy vacant residential land on condition that construction of a dwelling is to commence within 12 months. Approval will also usually be granted to buy home units and town-houses off the plan, under construction or newly constructed (but never occupied), on condition that no more than half of the units in any one development are sold to foreign interests.
Other situations where approval is normally granted includes:
- Foreign companies buying residences in Australia for their senior executives.
- Foreign nationals temporarily resident in Australia for more than 12 months buying for their own use as principal place of residence subject to the sale of property when they cease to reside in Australia.
- Foreign nationals purchasing residential real estate as joint tenant with an Australian spouse.
Proposed acquisitions of commercial development is normally approved unless it is contrary to the national interest. This is determined by the Government on a case by case basis.