Changes to Foreign Investment Review Board Approvals

On 1 May 2010, the government changed rules relating to temporary foreign citizens.

Previously foreign citizens who were residing in Australia could buy property in Australia to live in providing they had a visa which was 1 year or longer. It didn't matter that the visa was due to expire. The rules only required the person to notify the Foreign Investment Review Board upon the sale going through and did not need prior approval.

While the guidelines have not changed in so far as foreign citizens are still able to buy second hand dwellings providing they reside in them, notification rules have changed.

Foreign citizens will now be required to have a special condition in the contract making it subject to foreign investment review board approval. That approval will need to be obtained before settlement.

No detailed reason has been given as to why this change has been implemented apart from the governments view that they need to get tougher on foreign investors.

The applications can be made online and the government will respond to the applications within 30 days. So while an extra process has been created we do not anticipate contracts being terminated on these grounds.