Since 2010


Okay, this post falls under the heading of “might be useful to someone someday, myself included”.

As a member of staff at an Australian university, I am eligible for an account with UniSuper, who provide one of the many superannuation funds available here. From what I can gather, folks working in higher education in Australia get a pretty good deal when it comes to superannuation. Nice if you plan on retiring here, but what about folks like me who intend to flee the country at some point?

Here’s a watered-down summary of my understanding of things after attending a wee seminar held by UniSuper themselves.

  • If you come to Australia as a temporary resident, and end up becoming a permanent resident, then normal superannuation rules apply - you’ve gotta be retired before you get anything back
  • If you leave Australia as a temporary resident then you are eligible to receive the contents of your superannuation fund, with the following points being applicable:
    • Your visa must expire or be cancelled before you can apply to receive the funds
    • A “Departing Australia Superannuation Payment” form should be completed - this is what UniSuper call the form anyway
    • You’ve got to provide a forwarding address in your new country of residence, and valid bank details
    • Tax is paid on DASP payments: 35% on the taxable component of anything put into the super account (i.e. pretty much anything contributed by your employer, but not the monies paid voluntarily as salary sacrifice)

Now, you can choose to leave the super account in Australia, but it won’t accrue any interest, and will still be eligible for any administrative fees. And for some reason, New Zealand doesn’t come in to all of this: if you move from Australia to New Zealand, the regular Aussie rules apply.