The Crest of the Commonwealth of Australia Treasury Portfolio Ministers
Picture of Nick Sherry

Nick Sherry

Minister for Superannuation and Corporate Law

3 December 2007 - 8 June 2009

Media Release of 06/05/2008

NO.016

Payment of Temporary Residents' Superannuation
to the Australian Government

Senator the Hon Nick Sherry, Minister for Superannuation and Corporate Law, today released a consultation paper on payment of temporary residents' superannuation to the Australian Government.

Under the measure, future superannuation contributions and existing balances of temporary residents will be paid to the Australian Government.

This measure was announced by the previous government with a start date of 1 July 2008.

However, the Rudd Government will now defer the start date to the date of Royal Assent (expected before the end of 2008) to allow consultation on administrative issues.

The measure will allow employers to pay temporary residents' superannuation contributions to a super fund or directly to the Australian Tax Office.

Each year, the ATO and Department of Immigration and Citizenship will use data matching to identify super funds holding balances for temporary residents. The funds will be notified by the ATO and be required to transfer those balances.

Importantly, temporary residents will have the opportunity to claim their superannuation:

  • Temporary residents who permanently depart Australia will be able to claim their superannuation within five years of departure, subject to existing withholding tax rules.
  • Temporary residents who become permanent residents will have their superannuation transferred back to a superannuation fund with interest.

"The measure is not inconsistent with the way Australians who work overseas are treated on their permanent return to Australia, where in many cases they can't access compulsory social security or employer pension contributions made in that overseas country,'' said Minister Sherry.

In addition, many temporary residents fail to claim their superannuation when they permanently depart Australia, despite the fact they can do this currently.

"As a result, a significant amount of temporary residents' super ends up as part of the nation's 6 million lost super accounts totalling about $12 billion.''

"This change will help reduce the lost super problem.''

The consultation paper is available at www.treasury.gov.au.

The Government is seeking feedback on the consultation paper by 26 May 2008 to resolve administrative and legislative issues. Comments should be sent to: tempresisuper@treasury.gov.au

CANBERRA
5 May 2008