Can I obtain FIRB approval for vacant residential land?

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The Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB) is a non-statutory body which advises the Treasurer and the Government on Australia’s Foreign Investment Policy (the Policy) and its administration.

FIRB’s functions are advisory only. Responsibility for making decisions on the Policy and proposals rests with the Treasurer. The Treasury’s Foreign Investment and Trade Policy Division (the Division) provides secretariat services to FIRB and is responsible for the day-to-day administration of the arrangements. For more information on FIRB, please visit this link.

What type of property can I purchase with FIRB approval?

You can buy residential land, agricultural land, and commercial land (as well as tenements, business and entities).

There are different rules and requirements for your intentions in the property you are buying that must be met, to comply with the FIRB rules.

For the purpose of this blog, we will focus on vacant residential land.

What is vacant residential land?

A vacant residential land must be:

  • a block of land where no more than ten houses can be built on;
  • the land cannot be used wholly and exclusively for a primary production business;
  • the land did not previously have a house on it.

What are the approval conditions for vacant residential land?

If your FIRB application gets approved for the purchase of vacant residential land, you must usually comply with the following conditions:

  • the purchase price must be within the fee bracket in the approval – for more information on fees, please click on our previous blog here;
  • you must build at least one house on the land within four years from the date you receive the FIRB approval letter;
  • once the house is constructed, you need to submit the evidence of completion to the Government within 30 days of receiving it;
  • the land purchase must be recorded on the Register of Foreign Ownership of Residential Land within 30 days from the date your settlement of the purchase of the land occurs;
  • you cannot sell, transfer, or dispose of the land before the construction has been fully completed; and
  • you can buy as many vacant residential blocks of land as you like, but you will need a separate FIRB application each time.

Do you need to make an FIRB application?

Our specialised team of property lawyers, immigration lawyers and registered migration agents regularly act for clients to advise on or obtain FIRB approval for many different types of properties and investment ventures throughout Australia. It can often be a complex area of law so it’s important to get the right legal advice.

Contact our team today to speak with our team regarding the Foreign Investment Review Board application process or if you are considering investing in Australia.

The information provided in this article is for general information and educative purposes in summary form on legal topics which is current at the time it is published. The content does not constitute legal advice or recommendations and should not be relied upon as such. Whilst every care has been taken in the preparation of this article, FC Lawyers cannot accept responsibility for any errors, including those caused by negligence, in the material. We make no representations, statements or warranties about the accuracy or completeness of the information and you should not rely on it. You are advised to make your own independent inquiries regarding the accuracy of any information provided on this website. FC Lawyers does not guarantee, and accepts no legal responsibility whatsoever arising from or in connection to the accuracy, reliability, currency, correctness or completeness of any material contained in this article. Links to third party websites or articles does not constitute any endorsement or approval of those sites or the owners of those sites. Nothing in this article should be construed as granting any licence or right for you to use that content. You should consult the third party’s terms and conditions of use in relation to any third-party content. FC Lawyers disclaims all responsibility and all liability (including liability for negligence) for all expenses, losses, damages and costs you might incur as a result of the information being inaccurate or incomplete in any way. Appropriate legal advice should always be obtained in actual situations.


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