The Treasurer has announced changes to Australia’s foreign investment review framework, effective from 10.30pm AEDT on Sunday 29 March 2020, relating to monetary thresholds and timeframes for reviewing applications. Details are available in our Guidance Note number 53, which addresses the effects of the changes. All material on this website should be read in light of the Treasurer’s announcement.


Certain persons and acquisitions are exempt from the requirement to notify and receive a no objections notification under the Foreign Acquisitions and Takeovers Amendment Act 2015.

Foreign persons should determine whether their proposed acquisition is exempt and if in doubt, seek legal advice. Strict penalties (including civil and criminal penalties and disposal orders) may apply for breaches of Australia's foreign investment framework.

Residential Real Estate

Persons that meet certain criteria do not need foreign investment approval before purchasing residential real estate in Australia. This includes:

  • an Australian citizen (regardless of whether they are ordinarily resident in Australia or not);
  • a New Zealand citizen;
  • the holder of an Australian permanent visa; or
  • foreign persons purchasing property as joint tenants with their Australian citizen spouse, New Zealand citizen spouse, or Australian permanent resident spouse.
    • This exemption does not include purchasing property as tenants in common.

Foreign persons, regardless of citizenship or residency, do not require foreign investment approval to acquire an interest in residential real estate that is:

  • a new or near-new dwelling purchased from a developer that holds a new or near-new dwelling exemption certificate that allows the developer to sell dwellings in the specified development to foreign persons.
  • an aged care facility, retirement village or certain student accommodation provided the interest is not above the relevant threshold. For more information, see Guidance Note 14.
  • a time share scheme where the foreign person's total entitlement (including any associates) to access the land is no more than four weeks in any year;
  • acquired by will or devolution of law;
  • acquired directly from the Commonwealth, a State, a Territory, or local governing body, or an entity wholly owned by the Commonwealth, a State, a Territory or a local governing body; and
  • an interest in certain residential real estate in designated Integrated Tourism Resorts.

Further exemptions may apply. For more information, see Guidance Note 4 or contact us.

Other acquisitions

Exemptions may apply for other acquisitions in certain circumstances, including for:

  • moneylending agreements;
  • acquisitions acquired by will or devolution of law;
  • certain interests held by foreign custodian corporations;
  • land acquired from government;
  • certain investments in financial sector companies;
  • compulsory acquisitions and compulsory buy-outs;
  • acquisitions in Australian land by persons with a close connection to Australia;
  • acquisitions in Australian land by certain funds and schemes;
  • acquisitions in Australian land for diplomatic or consular purposes;
  • acquisitions in listed or unlisted Australian land entities below a certain threshold;
  • acquisitions of certain easements; or
  • acquisitions covered by an exemption certificate.

Exemptions are detailed under the Foreign Acquisitions and Takeovers Regulations 2015.

For more information, please contact us.