If you’re a permanent Aussie resident, your super will remain subject to the same rules. If you’re a temporary resident, you can apply to have your super paid to you after you leave.
You might be leaving the country for a variety of reasons - career prospects, love, adventure, new opportunities - or you may be returning home.
While you’ve probably got a checklist of things to cover off before you jet, spare a thought for any super you might’ve accumulated while you’ve been working in Australia
What can I do with my super if I’m an Aussie citizen or permanent resident leaving the country?
Even if you’re leaving the country permanently, if you’re an Australian citizen or permanent resident, generally your super remains in Australia and subject to the usual rules.
What that means is that in most instances you generally won’t be able to access your super until you reach your preservation age, which will be between 55 and 60, depending on when you were born and retire. Different rules may apply however, if you’re moving to New Zealand (more on that below).
Meanwhile, if you’re going to continue working for an Australian employer, they may still be required to contribute to your super, so check the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) website for more information.
What can I do with my super if I’m a temporary resident leaving the country?
If you’ve been working and earning super while in Australia on a temporary visa, you can apply to have this super paid to you as a departing Australia superannuation payment (DASP) after you leave1.
Generally, to be eligible for a DASP, all of the following must apply to you2:
- You’re not an Australian or New Zealand citizen, or permanent resident of Australia
- You accumulated super while working in Australia on a temporary visa (listed under the Migration Act 1958, excluding subclasses 405 and 410)
- You’ve departed Australia and no long hold any active Australian visa.
If you choose to keep your super in Australia, be aware that your super may be transferred to the ATO as unclaimed money six months after you depart Australia, or your visa is expired or cancelled (whichever comes later). If this happens, you can still claim your money through the ATO.
What can I do with my super if I’m bound for New Zealand?
If you’ve permanently emigrated to New Zealand, you may transfer your retirement savings from a participating Australian super fund to a New Zealand KiwiSaver scheme under the Trans-Tasman Retirement Savings Portability agreement3.
To do this, there will be a few things, listed below, that you’ll need to check4.
- Your Australian super fund will need to be a participant in the Trans-Tasman retirement savings portability scheme.
- Your retirement savings will need to be transferred from a complying super fund, regulated by the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA), to a New Zealand KiwiSaver scheme.
- You’ll also want to be aware of New Zealand’s retirement savings rules, as once your savings have been transferred, these rules will generally apply.
Again, you can choose to keep your super in Australia, but your super may be transferred to the ATO as unclaimed money six months after you depart Australia, or your visa is expired or cancelled (whichever comes later). If this happens, you can also claim your money through the ATO.
What other things should I consider?
Updating your details
Make sure your super fund has all your up-to-date details. This may help to avoid any small lost or unclaimed super balances you might have being transferred to the ATO.
Finding your lost super
In Australia, around $13.8 billion is held in lost or unclaimed super5. If you’ve lost track of your super and are an AMP customer, AMP can help locate it for you free of charge.
If you’ve lost track of your super, you can search for it via the ATO or your myGov account.
If consolidating is right for you
If you do have super with multiple providers and plan to leave your super money in Australia, there may be advantages to rolling your accounts into one, such as paying one set of fees.
If you’re an AMP customer we can do the consolidation legwork for you, but do check whether you might lose any benefits or features, such as insurance, which may not be transferable.
Researching fees and options
If you plan on taking your super money with you, make sure you’re across any potential fees and charges, including those related to currency conversions.
If you plan on keeping your super money in Australia, research what fees your super fund charges and what super investment options are available. A fund with lower fees will have less impact on your balance while you’re gone.
Looking into whether you’ll continue to make contributions
You will however need to look into the tax effectiveness of making contributions to your Australian superfund, which will depend on your individual circumstances and any rules that may apply in the country you’re moving to.
Where can I go if I need some help?
Check out the ATO website or speak to your financial adviser. If you don’t have an adviser but would like some advice, our online directory could help you find one nearby.
Speak to a super coach
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Any advice and information is provided by AWM Services Pty Ltd ABN 15 139 353 496, AFSL No. 366121 (AWM Services) and is general in nature only. Before deciding what’s right for you, it’s important to consider your particular circumstances and read the relevant product disclosure statement or terms and conditions available from AMP at amp.com.au or by calling 131 267.
The super coaching session is a super health check and is provided by AWM Services and is general advice only. It does not consider your personal circumstances.
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