Blog
February 24, 2021

Australian Super Pensions and Ireland


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Ireland’s last census in 2016 by the CSO provided a lot of incite into ‘the Irish abroad’ as the term is often put, particularly our Irish expat’s in Australia. The land down under has been good to our people with many reporting lifestyle and living standard improvements as well as more opportunities to save and use these funds to purchase a property if returning to Ireland in later years. So, let’s take a look at those CSO numbers.

Irish Emigrating to Australia

From 2008 to 2016 for example, the average number of Irish-born citizens emigrating to Australia averaged at 7,000 per year. In August 2016 there were 74,895 of us living down under. Of those, more than half were Australian citizens, only 3% were unemployed, 44% had been there at least a decade, 58% owned a home and one in three had an Australian spouse or partner, so roots have been planted clearly. The vast majority of those in employment held roles in trades, nursing, teaching and accountancy and tended to cluster in the Perth, Sydney, and Melbourne regions primarily.

Returning from Australia to Ireland

There is however more than one side to every statistic and during that same period an average of 6,000 Irish expat’s returned to Ireland annually. As of 2016 until the timing of writing, this number has increased from 6,000 to 12,000 per annum due to the disruptive nature that Covid-19 is having on the Australian economy. Upon return, many cannot help but notice that the landscape has changed dramatically also as house prices and rent have continued to soar in recent years and in-demand employment sectors have shifted.

The Australian Superannuation Pension Fund

A great benefit to employees in Australia has been the state pension Superannuation fund, known as ‘The Super’, which employers have a mandatory obligation to pay into. Due to Covid-19, workers have already been allowed to draw some of their pension funds to cover their living expenses and unless you are an Australian citizen or permanent resident, if you leave Australia you cannot return at present. This begs the question of what happens to your Superannuation Pension?

Temporary Visa holders versus Permanent Residents and Citizens

Unlike other overseas pensions the Australian super operates in a limited capacity. If you are returning to Ireland on a permanent basis, perhaps surprisingly, you cannot transfer your Superannuation pension holdings into an Irish Pension.

Temporary Visa holder options

The only instance where you could transfer a portion of your Super pension is if you resided in Australia on a temporary visa issued under the Migration Act of 1958 and where your visa is expired at the time of making a claim. If so, you can apply for a ‘departing super payment’ or a ‘DASP’ through the Australian Taxation Office.

Permanent Resident and Citizen options

If you are a permanent resident or citizen, superannuation funds can only be accessed at normal retirement age between years 55 to 60.  

How Aspire Wealth Management can help

As it relates to all financial matters upon returning to Ireland, whether that be Pension transfers, Investments, taxation, Life cover or Financial Planning, let it be ‘No worries’ as Aussie’s like to say, and chat to us at Aspire Wealth Management. We can advise you on how best to structure these needs and more. Contact us today to find out how we can help you settle back into Irish life quicker.

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