Date 10.08.2017

What are Your Pension Options When Moving Abroad?

If you are considering moving abroad, there are numerous decisions with your pensions to consider. From leaving your pensions in your UK pension plan to transferring your UK pensions to a QROPS. Before making any changes to your pensions it is advisable to seek independent expat pension advice to ensure you have the most effective strategies in place.

Prism Xpat, are an international financial advisory and expat pension advice specialist, their experienced team of advisers can support and guide you through all the options available to you for your pensions when you are moving abroad.

Leaving your Pension in a UK Pension Plan:

If you choose to leave your pension in a UK pension plan, your pension will continue to be held by your pension provider until you reach pension age and begin to claim it.

Leaving your pension in the UK may experience extra costs such as currency conversion, as your UK pension would be paid in Sterling irrespective of your state of residence. It is also important to mention that changing exchange rates could result in a reduction in the value of your payments.

To understand the pros and cons of leaving your pension in the UK after you have moved abroad, it is advisable to seek expat pension advice to ensure you are aware of costs, implications, restrictions and benefits of leaving your pension in the UK.

Transfer your UK Pension to a QROPS:

If you have private pensions or workplace pensions you may be able to transfer these to a Qualifying Recognised Overseas Pension Scheme (QROPS) providing you meet the requirements. Those with UK pension rights who are living away from the UK lastingly or those looking to retire abroad could benefit from transferring their UK pension to a QROPS.

These benefits include:

  • Increased flexibility of pension income
  • Greater tax efficiency
  • No currency conversion costs post transfer
  • Not affected by exchange rates
    it is always recommended to seek independent expat pension advice before transferring your pension to a QROPS from a UK pension to ensure you understand the solutions available to you, the benefits of each and any exit fees you may occur when entering or exiting your QROPS.

Claiming your UK State Pension Abroad:

If you have paid at least 10 years of National Insurance Contributions and you will need to have contributed for 30 years to receive a full pension.

However, you will only receive pension increases each year if you live in:

  • the UK for 6 months or longer each year
  • the European Economic Area (EEA)
  • Switzerland
  • a country that has a social security agreement with the UK that allows for increases

If you are thinking of relocating overseas or are already living elsewhere and are looking for independent expat pension advice, our expert partner Prism Xpat can help you.

Prism Xpat are the specialists in transferring your UK pensions to Australia. They handle all types of UK pension schemes.

This is key to get right on the move - i.e. Transfer or not. You have worked hard for your pensions. The 'transfer or not' decision and correct implantation can easily be worth 55%+ of your pension value on a move to Australia.

As outlined below, there is no fee for Prism Xpat to undertake an initial investigation for you and report back. This allows you to plan in advance - at no cost - even if you don't have your visa.

A transfer or not decision should be sorted out before you emigrate, as UK regulations now make it mandatory for you to obtain advice in the UK, from a UK located specialist on whether or not to transfer your pension funds. This advice cannot be obtained in many instances after you have left.

Further, Australia has a 6 month window to have your pension transferred after arriving, else a transfer tax is payable. Transfers can easily take longer than 6 months to complete.

It is advisable to commence the process 3-6 months prior to emigrating, so you are not caught out.

Prism Xpat's free initial investigation service works as follows:  If you appoint Prism Xpat, they will review your pension documents and if a transfer is not looking worthwhile, they will tell you on the phone, at no cost. This allows you to plan in advance, without committing to any extra expense.

The upside can be worth 55%+ of your pension value. Australia taxes your pensions at a lower rate than the UK, meaning you could have a much better standard of living in retirement if transferred. Further, leaving your pension in the U.K. can subject you to tax from the Australian end of over 40% of your pension value.

However a transfer is not in everyone's best financial interests.

It is an important decision. Prism Xpat will guide you through what to do so you are not caught out - leaving you one less hassle to worry about on the move and with their free initial investigation service, there is no initial cost.

To start the process, visit and complete\enquire-now and in the comments box, write 'Free Investigation' with a bit about your situation.

Alternatively, Prism Xpat can be reached on +44(0)345 450 4004, by email to or


Source: Prism Xpat Blog

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