Information for members on temporary resident visas

Have you joined UniSuper because you’ve started working for an Australian university on a temporary resident visa?

If so, you might have a few questions about UniSuper and superannuation.

What is superannuation?

Different countries have different names for their retirement savings schemes. In Australia, we call it ‘superannuation’—and usually shorten it to ‘super’.

By law, most employers must pay a minimum of 9.5% of an employee's salary as super into a complying super fund. You might be paid a higher rate of super than the compulsory 9.5%, depending on your employment arrangement.

If your super is in an accumulation-style fund, the fund then invests this money on the employee’s behalf. Together with investment returns (which may be positive or negative), the employee’s super can compound over time.

You can only access your super under certain circumstances, known as conditions of release.

Who is UniSuper?

UniSuper is one of Australia’s largest super funds, dedicated to providing higher education and research workers with greater retirement outcomes.

Our award-winning products, competitive fees and investment returns*—along with support to help you make informed financial decisions—all contribute to making us a great choice in super.

We keep fees competitive, so more of your hard-earned savings stay in your account.

Read our Why UniSuper? brochure for more information.

Can you transfer your overseas retirement savings to UniSuper?

You may be able to move your overseas retirement savings to a complying Australian super fund. Generally speaking, this is only available in very limited circumstances and is typically made as an after-tax (non-concessional) contribution.

We recommend you contact your financial adviser for more information.

Can you take your super with you when you leave Australia?

Eligible temporary residents who have left Australia at the end of their visa period can claim payment of their superannuation benefits in full. This is known as a Departing Australia Superannuation Payment (DASP).

For more information—such as how the DASP is taxed and what happens if you don’t claim your super when you leave Australia—read our DASP fact sheet.

Does your nominated beneficiary have to live in Australia?

With super, you can generally nominate beneficiaries to let us know how you want your super paid if you die. There are two types of beneficiary nominations—non-binding nominations and binding nominations.

Beneficiaries don’t have to live in Australia, but in order to receive your super they will need to be an eligible dependant. You can also direct your super to be paid to your legal personal representative.

There may also be tax implications—both in Australia and the country in which your beneficiaries reside—involved in transferring super benefits to another country. We recommend contacting the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) or consulting an international tax specialist for more information.

If you pay “Division 293” tax, can you claim a refund?

If you earn a high income, Division 293 tax may apply to your concessional contributions.

You can apply for a refund of Division 293 tax payments if you meet the following criteria:

  • You have received a DASP
  • You have paid all or part of your Division 293 tax liability
  • You apply for the refund on the approved form.

The form, a full outline of the process and more information is available on the ATO website.

Are you eligible for life insurance through UniSuper?

Generally, yes.

Temporary resident visa holders are generally eligible for death, Total and Permanent Disablement (TPD) and Income Protection cover. This cover is provided by our Insurer, TAL Life Limited, and may be provided to you automatically when you first join UniSuper. See our Insurance page for more information.

Note, however, that this insurance cover can cease in a number of scenarios, including:

  • You cease to be a UniSuper member
  • You reach the age at which cover ceases
  • You cancel your cover
  • Your account has insufficient funds to pay your insurance premiums
  • Whichever is later: your UniSuper superannuation benefit with us is less than $2,000, or we haven’t received any contributions or transfers to your account for 12 consecutive months.

Death and Total and Permanent Disablement (TPD) cover while you’re overseas

Death and/or TPD cover will generally continue while you’re overseas if you continue to be employed by your employer throughout the period of leave.

Otherwise, you must obtain approval from our Insurer and if approved, your cover will continue on the terms the Insurer advises in writing.

Income Protection cover while you’re overseas

Defined Benefit Division (DBD) members

If you’re an active member of UniSuper’s Defined Benefit Division (DBD), you will generally also have access to inbuilt benefits for disablement, temporary incapacity, terminal medical condition and death. This is in addition to any external cover you have through our Insurer.

Income Protection cover will generally continue while you’re overseas if:

  • Your residence overseas is not due to injury or illness
  • You continue to be employed by your employer

In addition, unless you obtain agreement with our Insurer in writing, the maximum period the Insurer will pay an income protection benefit while you’re overseas is for six months. This benefit would recommence being paid on your return to Australia, provided you remain eligible for it.

Read our Insurance in your super booklet or call us on 1800 331 685 for more information.

Useful links

You can find out more about super and temporary residents by searching for ‘superannuation’ on the following Australian Government websites:

Get in touch

If you need more information, call us on 1800 331 685 (+61 3 8831 6141 outside Australia)
To speak to a financial adviser, call UniSuper Advice 1800 UADVICE (1800 823 842) (+61 3 8831 7916 outside Australia)

* Past performance is not an indicator of future performance. For our Balanced option 10-year performance results see SuperRatings does not issue, sell, guarantee or underwrite UniSuper products.