Earlier this month, The New Daily reported that international student Andres Puerto was denied his request from his former employer of withdrawing his superannuation, which he estimates comes around to $3000 in total. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been a sharp increase in international students going to support services for help in retrieving unpaid superannuation.
As an international student who has been working in Australia, it’s important to understand what superannuation is and what you are entitled to.
What is superannuation?
It is essentially a government scheme to help save for retirement. They require your employer to take a small amount of your pay into a fund, that is managed by a superannuation company with every pay cycle. The money is invested by the company until you retire.
How do you access your superannuation?
You are normally only allowed to withdraw from your superannuation when you retire or withdraw from it if you leave Australia permanently. This applies to all temporary residents, including those on an international student visa.
You are allowed to withdraw up to $10,000 and apply to have this super paid to you as a departing Australia superannuation payment (DASP) after you leave. Before submitting your DASP application, check with your employer to confirm that they have paid all the super they are required to.
You can check your current super balance through your fund’s online portal to ensure your request is based on the latest available balance.
Are you eligible to withdraw from your superannuation?
The eligibility criteria are as follows:
- You are currently unemployed
- You are eligible for a Job Seeker payment, youth allowance for jobseekers, parenting payment (single and partnered payments), special benefit or farm household allowance
- On or after 1 January, either you were made redundant or your working hours were cut by at least 20%
- If you are a sole trader, your business was suspended or there was a fall in your turnover of 20% or more
Full details can be found on the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) website here.
Can you withdraw your superannuation due to COVID-19 financial hardships?
Unfortunately, applications for an early COVID-19 superannuation release have closed on the 30th of June 2020. According to an ATO spokesperson we contacted, if you, a temporary resident, applied after the deadline, you can contact ATO so that they may aid you in resolving the issue.
What if I face issues withdrawing my superannuation?
The ATO spokesperson also added that “if your employer is not paying the compulsory superannuation guarantee, you can report this to the ATO using our online tool”. After receiving the report, they can investigate your employer based on the information you provide and there will be no impact on your visa status.
More information about temporary residents and super can be found on their website
If you have any questions about superannuation, contact the ATO phone number 13 10 20, or visit their website
Meld strongly advises international students to practice social distancing, abide by their city’s lockdown rules and to wear a mask outdoors during the Covid-19 pandemic.
If you need any help and questions send us a message at firstname.lastname@example.org or contact your respective state’s Study Australia Partners.