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Pensions When Emigrating

By: Tracy Whitelaw - Updated: 8 Sep 2017 | comments*Discuss
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If you’re moving abroad you can continue to receive your UK pensions. When you emigrate, it doesn’t mean that all the years you’ve spent building up your pension was worthless. In some cases, emigrating can actually have a positive effect on your pension as other countries will allow you to withdraw a larger tax free lump sum.

Pensions When Moving Within the European Community

If you are retiring abroad or moving there permanently and you remain within the European Community you will still be eligible to receive your UK pension. Within the EEA (European Economic Area) or other countries that have an agreement with the UK, you will continue to receive your yearly increases. There is a list of these countries available on the UK Government website and you can also contact the department responsible for pensions in your new country. They are likely to vary, even when within the UK, so it’s always best to check with someone professional. Pensionable age may vary dependent on which country you move to, but it won’t really affect most people. Four months before pensionable age, you’ll receive a form from the UK pension authority to fill in. It will ask about any periods of time you’ve spent abroad, or whether you’re moving abroad. You should always tell the pension service that you’re moving so that they can keep track of where you are to send out further paperwork.

Pensions When Moving Outside of the EEA

When you’re moving to a country that doesn’t form part of the EEA, you will still be able to get your pension, however you won’t be entitled to your yearly increases. If the country has an agreement with the UK, you may still be able to get these yearly increases, but many popular retirement countries don’t have these agreements. Again, contact the UK pension’s authority for further advice on which countries will allow you to continue to be paid your pension.

Pension Forecasts

Before you move abroad, you should obtain a pension forecast from HM Revenue and Customs. You can ask for a pension forecast up to four months before retirement age and this will outline what you can expect to receive when you retire. If you are living abroad at this stage, you can contact HM Revenue and Customs Centre for Non-Residents in Newcastle and they can help you with a forecast.

Benefits of Transferring Your UK Pension Abroad

In certain countries, like Australia, you can actually benefit from transferring your pension abroad. In Australia, the entire fund that you have saved up can be taken as a tax free lump sum. In the UK, you normally will only be able to take a quarter of your pension fund tax free. If you have moved abroad, it is normally required that you have spent 5 years there before you can access your UK pension fund. When you do decide to transfer, you must ensure that you transfer to a Qualifying Recognised Overseas Pension Fund. This is simply an organisation that has been approved by HM Revenue and Customs.

Pensions and Emigration

The most important task you must undertake when you emigrate is to simply let HM Revenue and Customs know that you’ve moved. Also, obtain as much information as possible before you go, or if this isn’t possible, look online for as much extra knowledge as you can get. Many people don’t know what to do with their pension when they move and many years of continual payments are simply ignored when they could be used to aid retirement. Seek advice and enjoy what your UK pension can give you when you’re settled in your new home.

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my husband and i moved from the UK to live in Turkey 14 years ago at the age of 41, i was employed for 5 years before i had my first child and paid national insurance my husband paid national insurance by way on employment for 8 years then he became self employed and paid national insurance stamp we did not carry on with our national insurance when we emigrated 14 years ago, we are both coming up to 55 years old and are returning to live and work in the UK, will we have to pay 14 years of National insurance contributions each on our return? what will happen when we reach retirement age?
dev - 29-Dec-16 @ 9:29 AM
We are thinking about moving to Singapore to live near our son. We have no ties here so it will be a complete break.Will we have to pay UK income tax on our Civil Service and State pensions.
DekBoys - 11-Jul-16 @ 10:44 AM
elenasa - Your Question:
I worked in South Africa for some 40 years before coming to live in the UK. I paid my contributions for all that time and want to claim for a government pension from South Africa. Is this possible? I am now 67 years old and do not have a private pension.

Our Response:
Please see link hereto check whether you are eligible.
EmigrationExpert - 2-Dec-15 @ 10:38 AM
I worked in South Africa for some 40 years before coming to live in the UK. I paid my contributions for all that time and want to claim for a government pension from South Africa.Is this possible? I am now 67 years old and do not have a private pension.
elenasa - 1-Dec-15 @ 6:58 AM
I recently married a Malaysian lady and will be moving to Malaysia with her once my house here is sold. I am in receipt of 3 pensions (Civil Service, State and RAF). We will be living over there for the majority of the year returning only to visit relatives here. We will not be staying here for more than 90 days in any given year. Can I claim my pensions tax free and who do I need to contact regarding my emigration?
Bish - 1-Sep-14 @ 11:04 AM
Hi, I,m from South Africa but currently living in England. I have been working for the NHS for 8 years now and I am now moving back to South Africa. I was wondering would I be able to claim my NHS pension back or not. I have been doing so many research and just seem to confuse myself even more. I am from South Africa and because South Africa does not fall under the EU they tell me I could claim claim my pension back in a one off lump sum. Some say I can't do it. I am not sure what is the right way to go about this. Please if someone could give me any information I would be very greatfull.
Proudlysa - 13-Jan-14 @ 8:31 AM
Hi, my mother is Portuguese and she has been working in the uk for 6 years,,she recently retired and moved back to Portugal.But before she moved back,she had her pension money for almost a year wich was only £500 per month.Now that she is in Portugal she told me that she can't receive it no more because she is not living here.I would like to know if she can receive it still or not by living in Portugal??Kind Regards,David Bancroft-Hinchey
Prodigio - 24-Feb-13 @ 11:58 PM
My parents both live in England and want to immigrate to Australia as all their children are here and grandchildren and other family. They are now retired and on a British Pension. They have their own assests and some savings to come to Australia. Both will not be working when in Australia. They have been told that they have to put up $80,000 as a couple to emmigrate to Aust. Also that myself and my husband will have to pay $28,000 as bond which is held for 10 years. Please can someone tell me if this is correct. Thank you for your time. Jayne Galluzzo.
Jayney - 15-May-12 @ 5:54 AM
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