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Financial Matters: Working In Australia

This article offers Australian migrants or expatriates all you need to know about financial matters such as; Taxation and Benefits, Bank Accounts, Pensions plans, and Superannuation fund.

Taxation and Benefits
Before you begin your job in Australia, you must apply for a tax file number (TFN). This can be done online through the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) website. Each citizen, permanent migrant, or a short-term resident (and overseas students) who desires to start work in Australia require this unique number for taxation and other administrative purposes.

Temporary residents are not generally entitled to any benefits. Including people living in Australia on permanent visas will need to reside in the country for many years to claim government aid. This waiting period doesn’t affect permanent migrants’ benefits to family tax breaks and Medicare support.

International employees working in Australia with a temporary visa can claim “living away from home allowance”. This marginal benefit for foreign employees is offered by your employer under ATO regulations.

Pensions and Superannuation
While living and working in Australia, you will be entitled to some form of retirement pension. The state pension is a means-tested payment also called the Age Pension which needs you to meet the age and residency requirements to be eligible. Practically, only permanent residents who have worked in Australia for ten years will receive eligibility for the Age Pension when they reach retirement age.

Persons holding a short-term visa should check if their country of origin has a social security agreement with Australia. Any state pension or benefits you are eligible for in your country will include the period spent working in Australia, whereby the minimum requirements above-mentioned may not apply.

Also under Age Pension, people working in Australia also enjoy a retirement savings account called Superannuation Fund. The ‘Super’ has been praised for ranking the most adequate pension system in the world from a survey conducted by Melbourne Mercer Global in 2015. All Australian employer is expected to pay a minimum of 9.5% of your income into their Super. Temporary residents may claim their ‘Departing Australia Super’ at any time with the online form via ATO website, provided they have already left the country.

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Bank Accounts
Obviously, if you get paid from working with a local employer in Australia, you need an Australian bank account. You can easily open a current account with an Australian bank within 30 days of arrival, or even before immigration. Documentation required include your passport, confirmation of your arrival in Australia within the last six weeks, plus your valid visa and another form of ID. People who delay longer than one month before opening an account will suffer stricter requirements. You will be required to provide, besides other things, proof of address and your tax file number.