Are you leaving money on the table when you leave Australia?
02 Oct 2019
If you are a visa-holder working in Australia, have you thought about what happens to your superannuation payments if or when when you leave Australia? In this article Dominic Cookman looks at what visa holders can do to ensure that they are not leaving their hard-earned dollars behind.
In Australia, all employers are required to pay superannuation on top of an employee’s wages. Superannuation is money that is required to be set aside by the employer, which the employee can subsequently access upon reaching retirement age. Currently, the minimum amount that must be paid by an employer in superannuation is 9.5% of an employee’s salary on top of their ordinary earnings (this minimum amount is known as the ‘Super guarantee’). Some employers contribute at a higher rate, and there are also tax concessions available for employees who decide to make extra contributions.
If you are a not an Australian citizen, but are working in Australia, even for relatively short period of time, you are also entitled to be paid superannuation (excluding visa subclasses 405 and 410).
Once your visa expires and you depart Australia, you can apply online for a ‘Departing Australia Superannuation Payment‘ (DASP). This is a lump-sum payment of the accumulated superannuation you’ve earned as an employee during your time in Australia.
Depending on how long you’ve worked and how much you earned during your time in Australia, this can amount to quite a significant payment.
The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) has set up a website with information about how a migrant who has left Australia can apply to claim their DASP. You can access this here.
There are some extra procedural steps if it has been more than 6 months since your visa expired but the process is nevertheless quite straightforward.
The ATO estimated that in 2017–2018 there was a total of $17.5 billion worth of lost and/or unclaimed superannuation sitting various funds. We would wager that a not significant portion of that figure belongs (or should belong) to migrants who left Australia unaware of their right to claim this money!
If you worked in Australia but did not receive your DASP, don’t delay in making an application.