What happens to your Superannuation when you move overseas
Whether you’re moving overseas long term or temporarily, here’s everything you need to know about the money in your superannuation.
Your superannuation can NOT be used to fund your move overseas, we’re sorry to report. But whether you’re an Australian citizen or temporary resident, we know you have many questions about what will happen to your super fund when you move overseas. Moving is always fraught with some degree of uncertainty, so let us share some information and resources to help you set yourself up for a calmer move. There are so many various pieces to the international relocation puzzle, so let’s ensure your retirement savings isn’t one of them.
What to know about your super before leaving Australia when moving overseas from Australia
If you’re departing Australia after living here for a while, you’ve probably got a good handle on superannuation. But if you haven’t lived here as an adult over 18 making a gross salary of $450 per month working 30 hours or more per month, you might want to brush up on the basics.
Superannuation is a savings vehicle created to ensure older Australians can live comfortably without overly relying on the public pension scheme. The superannuation guarantee requires that
a percentage of your salary — usually around 10% of your base pay — is put into a superannuation fund by your employer. In the fund, it grows and matures until it’s needed later in life. All employees here – even temporary residents in Australia – are by law entitled to superannuation.
If you are ever uncertain about how your personal superannuation is being handled, you can turn to a superannuation specialist. These are certified individuals who can advise you about how to choose the most appropriate funds, share tailored information about rules and help you best manage your superannuation during this time of transition in your life. The Australian Taxation Office website can be a good place to start if your employer doesn’t have a human resources professional who is able to assist.
You’ll want to share with your superannuation specialist the reasons you may be moving overseas or leaving, specifically situations such as:
- If you’re working for an Australian company sending you abroad for work;
- If you’re an overseas resident who is working in Australia and now moving home permanently;
- A citizen of New Zealand permanently moving home;
- Someone with a terminal illness;
- In dire financial hardship.
Generally, while you’re away, your super fund will stay in Australia growing in maturity. It will continue to be treated just as it would if you were still in the country — even if you move overseas permanently. This is true whether you’re a citizen or an Australian permanent resident.
Moving overseas – PERMANENTLY
Let’s say you’re a temporary resident who has earned superannuation in Australia. Now you’re heading back home or have taken a job in an overseas country. You may be able to claim back the superannuation you earned during your time in Australia, especially if you have:
- Moved internationally already
- Hold an expired or cancelled visa
- Were paid super while working on a temporary visa
If you happen to be permanently moving to New Zealand, some international agreements might make your life easier when it comes to your retirement savings: Thanks to cooperation between the countries, you’re able to transfer your Australian super to a New Zealand KiwiSaver fund, as described on the ATO website.
Moving overseas – TEMPORARILY
If you plan to depart Australia for only a short time, there are steps to prepare your investment options. You might want to consolidate your various superannuation funds, for example, so as to avoid fees. Separately, if you’re a citizen of Australia you may also need to research the steps you’ll need to take if your employer will be required to pay into a retirement fund abroad. This can set up a situation where you or the company can claim back the funds paid abroad. A superannuation specialist can help with financial advice.
Australian residents who are leaving Australia temporarily can leave their superannuation monies in a fund while overseas, then continue contributing upon return. This may be a safe investment option especially if you’re likely to move back to Australia in a short period, whether in a matter of a couple months or less than a year.
Other important considerations
If you’re an Australian citizen, your super must remain in your selected fund (or funds) until you reach preservation age, the Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia reminds us. Preservation age will be around the age of 65, depending on the rules relating to your birth year.
Exceptions are generally not given unless very specific conditions apply, among them a terminal illness or extreme financial hardship.
At OSS World Wide Movers, we try to do everything we can to facilitate a smooth move overseas. To that end, please contact us with any questions about the moving process. We’re here to help get you from Point A to Point B as smoothly as possible — with nothing left up in the air, even your superannuation. With over 50 years of experience in the international relocation industry, OSS World Wide Movers is here to help you with your move overseas.
Click here to contact us today to organise your move overseas.