Australia - Superannuation Guarantee Scheme

Australia's Superannuation Guarantee Scheme requires employers to provide a minimum level of superannuation support for each employee, subject to limited exceptions.  The Employer Superannuation Guarantee Contributions (ESGC) may be paid into any Australian complying superannuation fund for the benefit of the employee.  The current required percentage is 9.5 percent of the employee's notional base earnings (subject to an annual cap).

Accordingly, employers are generally required to make ESGC payments to a complying superannuation fund in respect of expatriate employees who are residing and working in Australia.  There are limited exceptions with regards to expatriate employees, whereby an employer is not required to make ESGC in respect of the following main ''exempt' employees: -

  • Foreign senior executives residing in Australia who hold certain visas or entry permits as prescribed by the Superannuation Regulations.  This exemption would normally apply to an expatriate employee who is in the top 3 levels of the company
  • Employees working temporarily in Australia that are paid a salary and wages where there is a scheduled international social security agreement in place which provides that the employer is not subject to the ESGC in respect of work for which the payment is made.  Australia currently has international social security agreements with 13 countries,  These are detailed below and as such these expatriate employees from these countries are exempt employees for Australian ESGC purposes where a Certificate of Coverage has been obtained in the expatriate's home country.


Currently Australia has agreements with:-


Commencement date


1 January 2008


1 January 2007


1 January 2006


1 July 2005


1 July 2004


1 July 2004


1 April 2003


1 October 2002

United States of America

1 October 2002


1 October 2008


1 October 2008


1 October 2008


Due 1 January 2009


Please note that the German agreement came into effect from 1 October 2008 and only applies in respect of superannuation post 1 October 2008.


Expatriates Ability to Access Accumulated Superannuation Benefits if they depart Australia - Post 18 December 2008.

Expatriate employees are able to claim their superannuation benefits upon permanent departure from Australia.  Legislation has recently been introduced which provides that expatriate employees must claim their superannuation benefits from their complying superannuation fund within six months of permanently departing Australia and having their temporary visas expire or be cancelled.  Under legislation , when the expatriate employee claims their refund, withholding tax of 35 per cent will apply.

The ATO (Australian Taxation Office) is able to identify expatriates who have departed Australia by matching contribution information with DIBP (Department of Immigration & order Protection).  Please note however that the cancellation of the visa and notification to DIBP could take several months.

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