Recently there have been a number of changes made to the regulations governing foreign investment in Australia. I have outlined a few of the more significant changes.
A more comprehensive explanation of the recent changes is outlined on the Foreign Investment Review Board website.
Temporary residents are no longer required to notify proposed acquisitions of an established dwelling for their own residence (not for investment purposes), also any new dwellings and single blocks of vacant residential land (other acquisitions of vacant land will require notification and will normally be approved subject to development within 24 months).
The exemption applies to contracts entered on or after 18 December 2008 (the date that the Assistant Treasurer announced the policy changes). The exemption includes acquisitions of property by temporary residents via their trust or Australian incorporated company.
The existing notification requirements continue to apply to non-residents, who must notify all proposed acquisitions of residential real estate.
Foreign-owned companies can now also purchase established dwellings for the use of their Australian based staff provided that they sell or rent the dwelling if it is expected to remain vacant for more than 6 months.
There is no limit to the number of established dwellings which can be purchased, where required for employee accommodation.
Another significant change is to the definition of a temporary resident. The definition of a temporary resident is a person with a visa of at least 12 months duration.
This will be updated to cover temporary residents with shorter term visas and long term bridging visa holders. Short term visitors, for example, with tourist or certain classes of business visas will continue to not be considered as temporary residents.