What is superannuation?

Superannuation is a way of saving for retirement. Your employer may have made legally required superannuation payments into a ‘super’ fund on your behalf. Because many international students are here on temporary visas and will not retire in Australia, you may be able to take your superannuation once you leave Australia permanently. This is called a Departing Australia Superannuation Payment (DASP).

How do you know if you have a superannuation fund?

Your employer should pay super for you if you earn $450 or more (before tax) in a calendar month. If you are under 18 years old, you also need to be working more than 30 hours per week. ‘Super’ is available to casual, part-time or full-time workers. Check your emails or ask your employer who your super is with. Alternatively, you can search for your lost super online using the “Manage my super” section of your myGov account; phoning 13 28 65; or completing this form.

How do you make a DASP claim?

Your visa needs to be cancelled or expired, and you have left Australia. If your visa is still active, but you have left Australia you can apply to the Department of Home Affairs to have it cancelled. If you apply within six months of leaving Australia, you can submit your claim online or on paper. If you apply after more than six months, your superannuation fund will forward your money to the Australian Tax Office (ATO), where it will become “ATO-held money”. You can only claim this online. If you have more than one superannuation fund you will need to submit a separate claim for each one. Australian or New Zealand citizens or permanent residents, are not eligible for the DASP.

How long will it take to receive your money?

You will normally receive an electronic funds transfer to an Australian bank account, within 28 days of your superannuation provider receiving all the required information. There may be some circumstances where you could receive your payment as a cheque or international money transfer.

What about tax?

On a student visa your super will be taxed at a rate of 35% for the taxed element, and 45% for the untaxed element of the taxable component of the DASP. This rate is higher for working holiday maker visas. You should also lodge an income tax return with the ATO. The SRC has trained ATO volunteers who can help you with your tax return for free. Alternatively, you can complete your return yourself, or pay a registered tax agent to prepare a return for you.

Important Disclaimer
This information does not constitute legal advice.
This information is mostly a summary of information provided by the ATO.

Information updated on 15th May, 2020