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Changes to foreign investing in Australia

The Government has recently announced changes to the approval process for foreign investment in Australia in response to the unfolding COVID-19 pandemic. As at 10.30pm on Sunday, 29 March 2020 the threshold for the Government reviewing foreign investment has been reduced to zero. The result of this policy change is that any foreign investment of any foreign investor which is proposed to take place within Australia, and is subject to foreign investor legislation, will require approval of the Australian government. The Government has cited the reason for implementing this new policy is to protect the national interests of Australia within a time of economic change. The Government has further stated that the policy change will not result in an investment freeze and the Government will continue to review applications for foreign investment. Following the announcement for the policy change, the time frame for the Foreign Investment Review Board to review applications will increase from thirty days to six months. It is expected that the policy will be revised pending the passing of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Foreign Investment Review Board will refund any application fees in the event that a foreign investor wishes to withdraw its application as a result of the current economic conditions. If you require further advice or assistance in relation to foreign investment approval and how the new policy may affect your application, please contact Dean Woodbridge (dwoodbridge@lswlawyers.com.au) or Sam Saad (ssaad@lswlawyers.com.au) on (02) 9279 4888. This article is intended to be general advice only. We always recommend that you obtain advices in relation to your personal circumstances.

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