Crackdown on foreign investors is working, says Treasurer

by Julia Corderoy09 Jun 2015
The Federal Government’s crackdown on rule-breaking foreign property investors is working, according to Treasurer Joe Hockey.

Regulation guiding foreign property investors states that non-residents can only purchase new dwellings while temporary residents can purchase one established home to use as their residence while living in Australia, provided it is sold once vacated. 

But after a parliamentary inquiry into foreign investment in residential real estate conducted last year found that no prosecutions have taken place for illegal purchases since 2006, the Federal Government announced it will be taking a tougher stance on foreign investors who flout the rules.

As a result, Treasurer Joe Hockey says the Foreign Investment Review Board is now currently investigating 195 cases of purchases by foreign investors, which include 24 cases of those who voluntarily flagged their own possible breaches, Reuters reports

According to the Reuters report, Hockey said that tip-offs from members of the public, suspicious that properties had been purchased illegally using shelf companies and illegal leasing arrangements to hide foreign ownership had led to 40 of the cases under investigation.

In a bid to encourage those who have breached regulations to come forward, buyers who come forward before November 30 will be forced to sell properties, but will not face criminal prosecution.