When you work in Australia, you will often earn superannuation (also known as ‘super’), which is paid into a ‘super fund’ account by your employer. Superannuation is intended to help people in Australia pay for their retirement; the money in the super fund account is invested and usually you cannot withdraw it.

However, if you have worked and earned super while visiting Australia on a temporary visa, you can apply to have this super paid to you as a departing Australia superannuation payment (DASP) after you leave.

Do I get superannuation?

Under the superannuation guarantee, employers have to pay superannuation contributions of 9.5% of an employee’s ordinary time earnings if:

an employee is paid $450 or more before tax in a month and is:
over 18 years, orunder 18 years and works over 30 hours a week.

For example, if I earn $1000 (of ordinary time wages) at my job this month, an additional 9.5% of that, or $95, will be paid into my super account by my employer. Payments do not always happen monthly; by law, superannuation has to be paid at least every 3 months into the employee’s nominated account.

The superannuation guarantee applies to full-time and part-time employees and some casual employees, and includes temporary residents. What this means is that lots of international students who work here will accumulate super over their time in Australia. Sometimes, this can be thousands of dollars over the course of several years of work – definitely a significant amount of money!

How can I get the money from my super when I leave Australia?

  • Generally, you can claim a departing Australia superannuation payment (DASP) if the following apply:
    you accumulated superannuation while working in Australia on a temporary resident visa issued under the Migration Act 1958 (excluding Subclasses 405 and 410)
  • your visa has ceased to be in effect (for example, it has expired or been cancelled)
  • you have left Australia and you do not hold any other active Australian visa
  • you are not an Australian or New Zealand citizen, or a permanent resident of Australia.

If this sounds like your circumstances, you can probably claim a DASP. This money can be incredibly helpful to you when returning to your home country, as it can often be thousands of dollars.

If you think you are eligible to claim a DASP, it is definitely worth your time trying to get that money back, and you shouldn’t wait too long either: If it has been six months or more since you left Australia, your visa has ceased to be in effect. If you have not claimed DASP, your super fund will transfer your super money to the ATO as unclaimed super money. After that point, the money is gone, so make sure you start planning to claim a DASP before you leave Australia!

For help with any information about your super payments, and claiming your super when you leave Australia, call 9660 5222 to make an appointment, or email your question to help@src.usyd.edu.au.