What happens to my super when I move overseas?

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 to keep 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

Changes that came into effect on 1 July 2022 mean you don’t need to meet a ‘work test’ before contributing under a salary sacrifice arrangement or making personal contributions. But you do need to meet the work test conditions if you want to claim a tax deduction on personal contributions.

Under the work test you must have worked at least 40 hours over 30 consecutive days in the financial year.

To use the work test exemption, you must satisfy the following conditions:

  • you’ve met the work test in the previous financial year

  • you haven’t been, and don’t intend to be, gainfully employed for at least 40 hours within 30 consecutive days in the financial year the contributions are made

  • your total super balance with all super providers was below $300,000 at 30 June of the previous financial year, and

  • you haven’t previously claimed a personal tax deduction under this exemption in any previous financial year.

Under the new rules, the work test can be met in any period in the financial year of the contribution. This is different to the previous rules, where the work test must be met before contributing.

Generally speaking, you will 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. 

ATO – Departing Australia superannuation payment (DASP)
ATO – Eligibility for DASP
3, 4 ATO – Trans-Tasman retirement savings portability scheme for individuals
Lost and unclaimed super by postcode

Source: AMP July 2022

This information is provided by AMP Life Limited. It is general information only and hasn’t taken your circumstances into account. It’s important to consider your particular circumstances and the relevant Product Disclosure Statement or Terms and Conditions, available by calling 07 3245 3438, before deciding what’s right for you.

All information in this article is subject to change without notice. Although the information is from sources considered reliable, AMP and our company do not guarantee that it is accurate or complete. You should not rely upon it and should seek professional advice before making any financial decision. Except where liability under any statute cannot be excluded, AMP and our company do not accept any liability for any resulting loss or damage of the reader or any other person. Any links have been provided for information purposes only and will take you to external websites. Note: Our company does not endorse and is not responsible for the accuracy of the contents/information contained within the linked site(s) accessible from this page.


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