The reform, which does not apply to hotel construction projects, was announced in October 2009, creating a substantial buzz among foreign developers eyeing sizeable opportunities in the Iraqi real estate sector. Parliament passed the law in December; it must now be approved by the presidential council.

The new law is also designed to make it easier for foreign backers to apply for investment licences and to clarify the often-opaque division of licensing authority between federal and provincial governments when dealing with future projects.