Foreign Investment

If you are considering moving to Australia to purchase a Management Rights business it is essential that you are familiar with Australia’s investment policy.

This information is a synopsis of comprehensive information readily available from the Government at the Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB) website.

The Australian Government believes that foreign investment in the housing sector should increase the supply of homes and should not be speculative in nature.

Policy requires that foreign investors obtain prior approval for real estate purchases no matter what the value of the intended purchase. 

How do I apply?

Application forms are available at the FIRB  website or additional information can be obtained by phoning +61 2 6263 3795

Applications are processed by the Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB) who are required to make a decision within thirty days.  Approval can only be granted on specifically nominated properties and for this reason, real estate contracts with foreign citizens must contain a clause stating that the purchase is conditional upon FIRB approval and must allow appropriate time for the decision to be granted.

However, prior approval is not required if:

  • you are an Australian citizen living overseas
  • your spouse is an Australian citizen (not a permanent resident) and you are purchasing residential real estate in both names as joint tenants
  • you are a New Zealand citizen
  • you hold a permanent resident visa

Regardless of your citizenship or residency status, you do not need approval for:

  • new dwellings purchased from a developer that has pre-approval to sell those dwellings to foreign persons
  • an interest in a time share scheme that allows you (or any of your associates) to use it for up to four weeks per year
  • certain residential real estate in an Integrated Tourism Resort (ITR)
  • a property interest acquired by will or court order e.g. divorce settlement
  • an interest in developed commercial property valued below $50 million, unless the real estate is heritage listed, then a $5 million threshold applies
  • an interest in developed commercial property  where the property is to be used immediately and in its present state for industrial or commercial purposes
  • property purchased from the Government

Integrated Tourism Resorts

Purchases of residential real estate in a resort that the Government has deemed an Integrated Tourism Resort prior to September 1999 do not need Government approval. 

For resorts that have been deemed ITRs from September 1999, the exemption only applies to developed residential property that is subject to a lease of ten years or more to the resort operator and that is available as tourist accommodation when not occupied by the owner.  The normal foreign investment rules apply to all other property within the ITR including vacant land for development. 

To obtain ITR status a resort must meet very clearly defined criteria and are required to report annually to the FIRB providing ownership details for all accommodation within the resort.

Other Acquisitions (Non-Real Estate)

You are not required to submit an application for approval for acquisitions involving existing Australian corporations or businesses, or proposals to establish business which are valued below the Government’s monetary thresholds.

Additional Information to assist your move to Australia

Beginning Life in Australia

Business Establishment

Doing Business in Australia