Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB) changes in response to global pandemic

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The Commonwealth Government has moved quickly it would seem to stop foreign nationals buying up Australian assets at bargain basement prices in the current crisis.

The threshold for any foreign investment from Sunday 29 March 2020 is now $0.

The Treasurer announced that all proposed foreign investments into Australia subject to the Foreign Acquisitions and Takeovers Act 1975 (the Act) will require approval, regardless of value or the nature of the foreign investor. You can read the changes to the foreign investment framework from The Hon Josh Frydenberg MP, here.

The Treasurer said:

“In doing so, the Government will prioritise urgent applications for investments that protect and support Australian business and Australian jobs.

Even in these uncertain times, Australia continues to welcome foreign investment, which remains vital to our long-term economic success and stability. The Government recognises that foreign investment will play an important part in helping many businesses get to the other side – securing jobs and supporting our economic recovery.”

FIRB is currently updating its website with the changes now and will have full information on the website in due course.

FIRB has indicated to ensure sufficient time for screening applications, applicants will be contacted by FIRB and asked to request that the decision period for foreign investment application involving significant actions and/or exemption certificates be extended by up to 6 months from the date that their application fee is paid. This will extend your statutory deadline to 6 months, but it does not mean that your application will take the full six months to process.

It is clear the Government will prioritise urgent applications for investments that directly protect and support Australian businesses and Australian jobs, taking account of any commercial deadlines related to those proposed investments.

Foreign Investment Review Board – What should you do next?

At FC Lawyers we have experience in a wide range of FIRB applications for businesses, individuals, accountants and advisors.

Our team is more than happy to discuss your requirements in relation to the Foreign Investment Review Board framework and FIRB applications.

Contact our team of property lawyers today.