KiwiSaver migration possible

By Shelley Hanna

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KiwiSaver migration is possible if you have lived outside of New Zealand for at least one year and do not intend to return.
KiwiSaver migration is possible if you have lived outside of New Zealand for at least one year and do not intend to return.

I am a New Zealand permanent resident and I have had a KiwiSaver account with ANZ bank since 2011. I have been living in India for the past 10 months. I would like to withdraw my KiwiSaver money on the basis of overseas migration. If I withdraw money and then change my mind and want to return to New Zealand in the future, will I be able to do so? Would NZ Immigration object if I tried to return to New Zealand, having withdrawn my KiwiSaver on that basis?

People are more mobile these days, and many of us live in more than one country over the course of our lifetime.

You gained permanent residence status in New Zealand, but you are now are living in India. KiwiSaver legislation allows people to apply to withdraw their savings once they have been living overseas for at least one year, if they do not intend to return to this country.

You are concerned that doing so could affect your permanent resident status in New Zealand. However, you have qualified for that status and your decision regarding KiwiSaver should not affect it.

If you have a returning resident's visa in your current passport you will be able to re-enter New Zealand.

If you get a new passport you can renew your visa while you are living overseas.

Go to the website of Immigration New Zealand to check what is required to do this.

You should also talk to a staff member if you would like more information on your situation.

I am sure that you are thinking that the money you have in KiwiSaver will be useful to you as you establish yourself in India.

However, if you do apply to withdraw your money on the basis of permanent migration you will lose all the Member Tax Credits that you have received.

This may be over $2000. If there is a chance that you will return to New Zealand, you may be better off leaving the money in your KiwiSaver account.

If you decide to go ahead and make an application to withdraw, your KiwiSaver provider ANZ has a form that you need to fill out.

They will require evidence that you have permanently left New Zealand such as a stamp in your passport, travel or shipping arrangements and/or evidence of overseas employment.

They will also need proof that you are living permanently overseas for example a copy of a sale and purchase or lease agreement for an overseas property, or confirmation of your overseas tax status issued by the local tax authority.

These documents will need to be formally verified by oath or declaration.

You need to wait until you have been out of the country for one year before putting in your application.

If you can supply all the required information, the ANZ will either pay the money to you by cheque, or they will pay it into your New Zealand bank account.

Once you withdraw your money your KiwiSaver account will be closed. If in the future you return to New Zealand then you can apply to re-join KiwiSaver at that time.

This option to withdraw your KiwiSaver funds does not apply to people migrating to Australia. In this case, they can apply to transfer their investment to an Australian complying superannuation fund.

- Shelley Hanna is an authorised financial adviser (FSP12241). Her disclosure statement is available on request, free of charge, by calling 068703838 or go to www.peak.net.nz. The information contained in this article is of a general nature and is not personalised. Send your KiwiSaver questions to shelley.hanna@peak.net.nz.

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