Government crackdown on foreign investors continues

by Julia Corderoy10 Aug 2015
The Federal Government’s crackdown on cashed up foreign investors continues, with more foreign investors forced to sell residential Australian real estate. 

In a statement released on Saturday, treasurer Joe Hockey announced that he ordered the sale of six residential properties unlawfully held by foreign nationals.

“Australia welcomes foreign investment and Australia needs foreign investment but, at all times, foreign investors must comply with our laws,” he said.

“Australia’s foreign investment policy for residential real estate is designed to increase Australia’s housing stock, but those who break the rules and purchase established property illegally are doing so to the detriment of all Australians.”

According to Hockey, some of the properties were purchased with Foreign Investment Review Board approval, but the investor failed to comply with the divestment requirements after their circumstances changed. However, other properties were purchased illegally without approval.

The foreign nationals who have been forced to sell currently live in four different countries. The five different orders relate to six established properties, with one investor owning two properties. The purchase prices of the properties range in value from $152,000 to $1.86 million.

However, the investors voluntarily came forward to take advantage of the amnesty Hockey announced in May. They now have 12 months to sell the properties, rather than the normal three month period, and will not be referred for criminal prosecution.

According to Hockey, since transferring residential real estate compliance functions to the ATO in May, over 2,000 pieces of information relating to suspected breaches have come to light via data matching with third party sources including the Foreign Investment Review Board, Immigration, AUSTRAC and state and territory land title offices.

“Through the information provided by the public, together with our own enquiries, we now have 462 cases under active investigation,” Hockey said.

“I expect more divestment orders will be announced in the not too distant future.”
 

COMMENTS

  • by I wonder. 10/08/2015 12:52:44 PM

    Foreign Investment iceberg Mr Hockey…..462 cases under active investigation. They are just the tip of the iceberg my friend. Let’s see how the ATO investigation goes, they only started in MAY. I just hope that we hear all the results. My worry is that if it’s as bad as we think the government may try and hide the real numbers.

  • by E3PI 10/08/2015 2:34:51 PM

    Shows just how ineffective the FIRB was at least.

  • by SEQ Broker 11/08/2015 8:32:16 AM

    Again, what about the converse. See what happens if an Aussie breaks China's laws. Once again, Australia too lenient. Fine them 20% of the value, if they cant pay, assume the property. Or Better still, find out what China does in this instance and do that.