I’m moving overseas – what about my super?

You are excitedly making those final arrangements. The boxes are packed and sealed. It’s almost time to say goodbye to loved ones, family, and friends. And your diary is filling up with farewell lunches, dinners, and get-togethers.

One thing is for sure: departure day always approaches at the speed of light, while there are still so many things to take care of on your checklist.

One of those things to add to your pre-departure checklist is your superannuation. There are a couple of scenarios to consider. Let’s take a closer look.

I’m an Australian citizen or permanent resident 

In both instances – citizen or permanent resident – your super is subject to the same rules when leaving the country, even if your move is permanent.

In any case, it’s highly unlikely that you’ll be able to access your super before reaching the preservation age. Depending on the year you were born, preservation age is between 55 and 60.

And, even if you are overseas but still working for an Australian employer, then your employer may still be obligated by law to contribute to your super fund. More information is available on the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) website.

I’m a temporary resident 

Temporary Residents leaving Australia can take their super with them if they apply successfully for a Departing Australia Superannuation Payment (DASP).

To qualify for DASP, the following terms and conditions apply:

  • You cannot be an Australian or New Zealand citizen, or Aussie permanent resident

  • You entered Australia on a temporary visa (listed under the Migration Act 1958, excluding subclasses 405 and 410)

  • You are no longer living in Australia

  • Your Aussie temporary visa is no longer valid.

Migrating from Australia to New Zealand

After migrating to New Zealand, you have a choice: either leave your super in Australia or transfer it to New Zealand.

Transfers of super to New Zealand are conducted under the Trans-Tasman Retirement Savings Portability scheme

If your application to transfer is successful, your super will be placed in a New Zealand KiwiSaver account

Transfers will only be considered if:

  • your existing and future super fund(s) are participants in the arrangement.

  • your existing and future super fund(s) comply with both the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) and the New Zealand KiwiSaver scheme.

  • your existing fund is not a Self Managed Super Fund (SMSF).

Once your super has been transferred, it will be subject to New Zealand’s retirement savings rules. It is therefore important that you understand these rules before applying for a transfer.

I’m already overseas

It’s worthwhile getting to understand the retirement savings circumstances in your new host country. In particular, whether and how you can access, recover, or withdraw any retirement savings contributions that you are making.

If you are nearing or have reached your preservation age, enquire about the tax implications of making withdrawals from your Australian super.

Things to do before leaving

Update your personal details

Contact your super fund and provide them with your new contact details. 

Find lost super

Lost super in Australia totals $18 billion, and it may include some of yours. You can search for lost super via your MyGov account or by completing and returning the ATO’s lost super form.  Your super fund may also provide a free lost super service.  

It might be smart to consolidate your super funds

If you have more than one super fund –e.g. lost super that you found- it often makes great sense to consolidate them.

Not only will it be much easier to manage all in one place, but it could also save you from paying annual or other fees on multiple accounts.

However, it’s important to view your personal situation on a case-by-case basis. There may be exit and withdrawal fees payable. You may also lose insurance that’s not transferable.

Review your super contributions strategy

You can continue your contributions into an Australian super fund while living or working overseas if:

  • You are under 65, or

  • Between age 65 and 75 and meet work test requirements.

However, depending on your circumstances and the tax rules of your host country, your super contributions may no longer be tax effective.

It’s therefore important that you review and – if applicable- revise your super contributions strategy when moving overseas.


Reference: Australia Taxation Office https://www.ato.gov.au/Individuals/International-tax-for-individuals/Going-overseas/When-you-leave-Australia/

Source: Clientcomm library 

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