Temporary residents’ guide to understanding superannuation in Australia

As a temporary resident working in Australia, you may be entitled to receive superannuation contributions from your employer to help you save for your retirement.

Here’s how it works.

  • The purpose of Australia’s superannuation system is to help you save for your retirement.
  • The funds held in a super account are invested to help grow your balance.
  • Employers contribute a percentage of your total earnings into a super account that you can generally access once you leave Australia. 

What is superannuation?

Superannuation, or super, helps you save for retirement.

Your employer is required to make mandatory payments (called ‘contributions’) to your super account, which is managed by a super fund. These contributions are called ‘Super Guarantee’ (SG) contributions and must meet the minimum Super Guarantee rate. The minimum SG rate is currently 11% in the 2024 financial year, but the government plans to increase this gradually into the future.

You can access your super if you meet certain conditions, for example, if you were to leave the country upon an expired visa.

Most temporary residents, such as those on some working holiday and graduate visas, are eligible to receive superannuation from their employer. Check your eligibility using the Am I entitled to super? tool.

How to choose a super fund

Your employer will give you a ‘standard choice form’ when you start a new job. You can choose your existing super fund, your employer’s default fund, or a different fund.

Here are some considerations:

  • How is their track record? Whilst past performance does not guarantee future performance, this can be an indicator for how well the fund is managed.
  • What fees will apply to your account? Super funds have various fees including investment, administration and transaction fees which can impact your future retirement balance.
  • What investment options are available? Super funds generally have a range of investment options where risk appetite, investment timeframe and types of assets differ.
  • What insurance offering is available? Super funds typically have three types of insurance (death cover, total and permanent disablement cover, and income protection or salary continuance insurance cover). When comparing insurance offered by super funds, consider premium rates, level of cover, and exclusions that may apply.

Learn more about how to choose a super fund

Claiming back your super through DASP

As a temporary resident, you are generally eligible to claim a Departing Australia Superannuation Payment (DASP) if:

  • You are not an Australia or New Zealand citizen, are not a permanent resident in Australia or do not hold a 405 or 410 retirement visa
  • You have left Australia
  • Your temporary visa is no longer valid

To apply for DASP online:

  1. Lodge an application via the DASP application system on the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) website.
  2. If your super money is still held with your super fund, the ATO will forward your details to your super fund. If it’s been over 6 months since you’ve left Australia, it’s likely your super fund has transferred the money to the ATO. In this case the ATO will process the payment.
  3. Your super balance (less tax) will then be paid to you (generally within 28 days from receiving your request) either by your super fund or the ATO.

Alternatively, you can complete a paper application form, which can be found on the ATO website.

Find out more about the DASP

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Things you should know

This is general advice only. It does not take your personal objectives, financial or taxation situation or other needs into account. Before acting, you should consider the appropriateness of the advice, having regard to your objectives, financial situation and needs.

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Any information provided by CBA may include general financial product advice but does not consider your individual objectives, financial situation, needs or tax circumstances, and so you should consider the appropriateness of the advice having regard to your circumstances before acting on it.  You should read the PDS and the Reference Guides for Essential Super carefully and consider whether the information is appropriate for you before making any decision regarding this product.