Moving to Australia for work can be exciting and challenging. When you’re away from home, in a new place with new people, there’s so much to get used to.
One of the great things about working in Australia, depending on your circumstances, is access to a superannuation system that offers choice and 9.5% (as a minimum) of your salary (Super Guarantee contributions) paid into your superannuation account.
You may hear superannuation referred to as super or retirement savings while you’re in Australia. It’s one and the same thing, and we’ve put together a summary to give you an idea of what superannuation is and how it works.
What is superannuation?
In 1992, the Australian government introduced a compulsory superannuation system designed to help workers build retirement savings.
So, in addition to their take-home pay, employees receive extra money (at least 9.5% of their regular salary) paid by an employer into their superannuation account. When the employee reaches preservation age they can access their super money, which comes in handy when they stop working in later life.
Are temporary residents eligible for super money?
Broadly, every Australian employer is required by law to pay 9.5% into a super account on each employee’s behalf. As a temporary resident, you may also be eligible to benefit from this, unless your employer doesn’t have to pay super for you.
For example, there are rules regarding this requirement depending on the type of job you do in Australia, and your country of origin. Australia has an agreement with some countries, which means residents of those countries may not receive super when working in Australia.
Know your rights
It’s important to understand your rights when you’re in Australia working under a 457 visa*.
As a 457 visa holder you may be able to:
- Work in Australia for up to four years, and freely travel to and from Australia during that time
- Bring any eligible dependants with you to Australia—they may be able to work and study too.
What happens to my super when I leave Australia?
If you work as a temporary resident, any super money you have will be treated differently to that of Australian residents after you leave Australia.
You may be eligible to apply for a departing-Australia superannuation payment, but you’ll need to check with the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) about how the laws will apply to you and any fees or tax implications—visit the ATO’s webpage that provides information about superannuation for temporary residents departing Australia.
Choose the right super fund
Choosing the right super fund as soon as you start working in Australia can make a big difference to the amount of money you end up taking with you.
If your super is with AMP, you can keep the same super account even if you change jobs in Australia. And you’ll have the convenience of an app and online tools to make it easy to keep track of your super wherever you end up working.
If you’re super isn’t with AMP find out which AMP super products and services may suit you best. Or if it’s easier, give us a call:
- If you don’t yet have an AMP account and you’re in Australia, call us on 133 888 Monday to Friday 8.30am – 6pm (AEST)
- If you’re currently outside Australia, call us on +61 2 8048 8162 Monday to Friday 8.30am – 7pm (AEST)
- If you’d like to speak to a financial adviser, use our online tool or call us on 131 267 Monday to Friday 8.30am – 6pm (AEST) and we can put you in touch with one.
* The 457 visa will be replaced with a new temporary skill shortage (TSS) visa in March 2018. The TSS visa program will be comprised of a short-term stream of up to two years and a medium-term stream of up to four years and will be focused on areas of the Australian workforce where there are genuine skill shortages. No changes to the eligibility requirements for superannuation have been announced as part of these reforms.
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We look at the average super balances for different age groups in Australia so you can see how your super savings compare.