How Australia’s foreign investment framework works

In prescribed circumstances foreign persons must notify us of their proposed actions, or actions already taken.

Notifying actions

Whether you will need to notify us depends on a range of factors unique to your situation and includes consideration of the following:

  • the type of investment action you propose to take, or have taken
  • the monetary thresholds relevant to that investment action
  • whether any exemptions apply
  • whether you are a government or non‑government foreign investor.

If you fail to notify us before taking your investment action, you should still tell us about it by submitting a retrospective notice.

If your proposal is allowed, you will receive a no objection notification, and this may have conditions attached.  Some conditions are ongoing.

Exemption certificates

You may apply for an exemption certificate.

Exemption certificates reduce regulatory burden for a high volume of low‑risk investments.

Exemption certificates allow you to make multiple proposed investments over time, rather than having to notify us of each one.

We may specify conditions in exemption certificates, which may be ongoing.


Fees for notifying an investment proposal or applying for an exemption certificate are payable at the time you submit your investment proposal. Fees generally apply for variations of investment proposals.

Fee amounts are generally calculated on the value and kind of investment.

Other powers of the Treasurer

The Treasurer has the power to compel the provision of information or documents that are relevant to the Treasurer’s exercise of powers. It is a legal requirement to respond to these notices.

The Treasurer can also review some foreign investment decisions using last resort powers if national security concerns arise after the decision was made or if the foreign investor provided false or misleading information before being given a no objection notification or exemption certificate. 


Foreign investors have obligations including to:

  • notify investment proposals before investing
  • keep records about their investment action
  • comply with any conditions imposed
  • report on compliance with conditions
  • notify us when their investment action has been taken
  • you may be required to register your investment on the Register of Foreign Ownership of Australian Assets

We have a range of tools available to assess whether foreign investors are meeting their obligations under the foreign investment framework, and to respond to non‑compliance.

Criminal offences and civil penalties apply for non‑compliance with obligations under the foreign investment framework and infringement notices can be given in some cases.