Australia might seem like an attractive retirement destination for would-be South African pensioners, but there’s a lot to think about before you pack up your life here and move down under. Emigrating to Australia over 45 might be challenging, but not impossible! Unless you’ve already got family living in Australia, you’re going to have a hard time getting in. Let’s take a quick look at the facts on retirement and emigrating to Australia.
Retiring in Australia: Can pensioners emigrate to Australia?
In order to retire to Australia, you must initially apply for a visa. If you have family ties to Australia, you could potentially be eligible to get in on a Parent Visa, Age-Dependent Resident Visa, Remaining Relative Visa, or a Carer Relative Visa. Previously, it was possible (albeit exceptionally costly) to retire to Australia on the Investor Retirement Visa if you had no family route in, but this immigration programme has been closed to new applicants and has been replaced by the Pathway to permanent residence for Retirees.
What is this Retirement Visa Pathway?
Created by the Australian Government to facilitate a pathway to permanent residency for eligible retirees, to provide options to long-term residents who have made significant contributions, establishing themselves in their communities. This pathway sees the setting aside of a percentage of places from the permanent migration scheme for parents.
You may be eligible to apply for a pathway to permanent residence if, on 8 May 2018:
- You held a Retirement visa (subclass 410) or Investment Retirement (subclass 405) visa or
- Your last substantive visa was a Retirement visa (subclass 410) or Investment Retirement (subclass 405) visa.
In addition, you must also:
- Not have held any substantive visa apart from Retirement visa (subclass 410) or Investment Retirement (subclass 405) between 8 May 2018 and your application date for permanent residence pathway, and
- Be physically present in Australia when making your permanent residence pathway application.
What are your Pathway options?
Eligible retirees may gain access to the pathway by applying for a:
- Parent visa (subclass 103) or
- Contributory Parent visa (subclass 143)
- You will be subject to most of the current requirements for a parent visa, but you won’t need to fulfill the sponsorship, balance of family test or Assurance of Support requirements.
- If your Retirement visa (subclass 410) or Investment Retirement (subclass 405) is about to expire and you initiate a pathway application, you’ll be granted a Bridging visa that lets you stay on in Australia lawfully while your Pathway application is processed.
Parent visa (subclass 103)
Currently, no accommodations can be made to admit retirees under the Parent visa until 2022 and waiting times for Parent visas are significantly longer than those for Contributory Parent visa.
Contributory Parent visa (subclass 143)
Priority is given to retirees who apply under the Contributory Parent visa category until places become available in the Parent visa subclass from 2022 onwards.
What to do if your application is refused
- You will be notified of your application refusal and furnished with information about your rights of appeal to have the decision reviewed.
- Having your pathway application refused will not affect your ability to apply for a Retirement visa (subclass 410) or Investment Retirement (subclass 405) thereafter.
- Although these two visas have been closed to new applicants, existing visa holders are still able to apply for them.
What are your options for emigrating to Australia from South Africa if you’re over 45 or even over 65 years of age?
Option 1: Retiring to Australia on a Family Sponsorship
If you’re a parent and your child is an Australian citizen, Australian permanent resident or an eligible New Zealand citizen settled in Australia for at least two years, and that son or daughter is able to sponsor you, you can apply under either the Parent Category or the Contributory Parent Category.
This requires bonds to be paid and held for either two or ten years, and as the applicant, you’ll need to satisfy the requirements of various health and character assessments, as well as the balance of family test – which specifies that at least half of your children must live in Australia, or more of your children must live in Australia than in any other country.
Option 2: Your Australian relatives can sponsor you to retire to Australia, if you’re single
If you are of retirement age, and you’ve got a relative over in Australia who is either: a child, adopted child, parent, brother or sister, grandchild, uncle, aunt, niece or nephew (or step-equivalent thereof), and you are currently single – either because you’ve never been married, you’re widowed or divorced – you could qualify for the Aged Dependent Relative visa.
Your sponsorship will have to be carried by your Australian citizen, Australian permanent resident or eligible New Zealand citizen relative and you will need to furnish proof that you are dependent on them.
Option 3: You can retire to Australia if your only close relatives are resident in Australia
If you’re looking to emigrate to Australia over the age of 65, this is likely to be a good option for you to explore. A Remaining Relative Visa could be your ticket in if your only close relatives are residents in Australia and you (and your spouse) have no other brothers, sisters, children, parents (or step-equivalents) than those in Australia.
Option 4: You can retire as a Carer for your Australian relative
If you’ve got an Australian relative with a serious medical condition characterised by physical, intellectual or sensory impairment, you’ve got the opportunity to provide the loving care that only a family member can provide, making you eligible to apply to emigrate to Australia by means of the Carer Relative visa category.
Funding your emigration to Australia: cashing in your South African retirement savings
If you’re looking to emigrate to Australia over the age of 45, you could potentially fund the next chapter of your life by withdrawing your retirement annuity savings, which you can do before the age of 55 but only if you complete the process of financial emigration.
Once you’ve cashed in your retirement savings upon successful completion of the financial emigration process, you’ll be able to transfer the proceeds of your retirement funds (less tax) abroad, where you’re free to spend it as you choose.
Need assistance consolidating and accessing your South African retirement savings before the age of 55? FinGlobal is ready to make it happen for you, no matter where in Australia you plan to retire. From start to finish, we’ll handle every step of your financial emigration, retirement annuity encashment and the international transfer of your funds.
What are you waiting for? Contact FinGlobal to begin your free assessment today.