March 1, 2024
March 1, 2024

Navigating FIRB Approval: A Guide for Foreign Investors in Australia

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Navigating the Australian Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) landscape can be complex, especially with the regulatory oversight of the Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB).  In this blog post, we'll delve into the FIRB approval process and highlight the key considerations for foreign investors looking to invest in Australia.

Understanding Australian FDI and FIRB

Australian FDI refers to the investment made by foreign entities into Australian businesses and assets.  The Australian government regulates FDI through FIRB, which evaluates foreign investment proposals to ensure they align with national interests.  Understanding FIRB's guidelines, thresholds and approval processes is essential for foreign investors.  Significant criminal and civil penalties can apply for non-compliance.

Key Steps in the FIRB Approval Process

The process of gaining FIRB approval is summarised below.

  1. Application Submission: Foreign investors must submit a comprehensive application to FIRB detailing the nature of the investment, the parties involved, and the expected benefits to Australia.  Fees are imposed for application consideration.
  2. Review and Consultation: FIRB assesses each application on a case-by-case basis, considering factors such as the investor's background, the economic benefits of the investment and any potential national security implications.  Consultation with government departments, agencies, and industry stakeholders may occur during the review process.
  3. Decision and Conditions: Once the review is complete, FIRB will make a decision on whether to approve, conditionally approve, or reject the investment proposal.  In some cases, FIRB may impose conditions on approved investments to mitigate risks or ensure compliance with regulatory requirements.
  4. Post-Approval Obligations: After receiving FIRB approval, investors must continue to comply with reporting obligations, including providing updates on the progress of the investment and any material changes to the original proposal.  

Key Considerations for Foreign Investors

Before diving into the Australian market, foreign investors must familiarise themselves with the following key considerations:

  1. Monetary Thresholds: Understanding the monetary thresholds applicable to different types of investments is crucial for determining whether FIRB approval is required.  A list of different investment types and monetary thresholds is available on the 'Foreign investment in Australia' website here.
  2. Sectoral Regulations: Certain sectors, such as critical infrastructure, healthcare, and sensitive land, are subject to stricter regulations and scrutiny by FIRB.  Foreign investors must assess sector-specific regulations and compliance obligations before making investment decisions.
  3. Due Diligence: Conducting thorough due diligence is paramount to mitigate risks and ensure the success of investment ventures.  From legal, tax and financial analysis to market research and risk assessment, comprehensive due diligence enables foreign investors to make informed investment decisions.


Navigating the complexities of Australian FDI and FIRB requires strategic guidance and legal expertise. Sierra Legal can provide foreign investors with comprehensive legal support throughout the investment lifecycle, including assistance with the establishment of appropriate investment vehicles, drafting and negotiating agreements in relation to the investment, and advising on and obtaining any necessary FIRB approvals.  Get in touch with one of our team members today.

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