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On 29 March 2020, the Treasurer of Australia announced temporary changes to the foreign investment review framework in Australia designed to protect Australia’s national interest during the COVID-19 crisis which poses intense pressure on the Australian economy and businesses.

 

The Changes and How it Affects Foreign Investors?

  1.   $0 Threshold for All Foreign Investment

The monetary screening threshold which defines whether FIRB approval is obligatory for all foreign investments have been reduced to $0.

This change to the foreign investment framework means that all proposed foreign investment in Australian lands, estates or businesses by a foreign person must now notify and seek approval from the FIRB before they are allowed to proceed. All foreign investment will now be subject to scrutiny by the FIRB regardless of the value and/or nature of the investment.

 

  1. Extension of Application Review Timeframe

As the volume of FIRB application is expected to increase significantly as a result of this announcement, the Treasurer has announced that the timeframe for reviewing applications will be extended from the standard 30 days period to up to 6 months.

 That being said, the extension of the deadline to 6 months will not necessarily mean that it will take 6 months to obtain a decision. The Treasurer has said that FIRB will prioritise assessments of applications for investments which directly protect and support Australian businesses and employments.

This change to the application review timeframe will have an impact on both current and new applicants as it is foreseeable that foreign investors will experience significant delays in obtaining approval from FIRB.

 

The announcement states that these measures will remain in place for the duration of the current COVID-19 crisis. If you would like to inquire about Foreign Investment and Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB) or find out more about your rights and options, Straits Lawyers are here to help. Simply send us an email at info@straitslawyers.com or give us a call on 8410 9069 to arrange an appointment for an online interview.

Please note that this article does not constitute legal advice and Straits Lawyers will not be legally responsible for any actions you take based on this article.