Immigrants to New Zealand and returning Kiwis who have spent a large portion of their working lives overseas will have to wait longer to qualify for NZ Superannuation. The New Zealand Superannuation and Retirement Income (Fair Residency) Amendment Bill 2021 changes the qualifying period from 10 to 20 years, with five of those years after the age of 50. The increase will be phased in over a period of 10 years.

Immigrants from the UK qualify for NZ Superannuation, because of the reciprocal agreement that New Zealand has with the UK Government.

There is a social security agreement with the UK so that Kiwis who have worked and lived in the UK may be able to count this time towards their qualification period. In addition time worked in the Cook Islands, Niue and Tokelau count towards the requirement.

The number of years someone needs to be in New Zealand (including the 5 years after age 50) before they qualify for NZ Super will depend on their date of birth.

People born on or before:

    • 30 June 159; 10 years
    • July 1, 1959-June 30,1961: 11 years
    • July 1, 1961-June 30,1963: 12 years
    • July 1, 1963-June 30,1965: 13 years
    • July 1, 1965-June 30,1967: 14 years
    • July 1, 1967-June 30,1969: 15 years
    • July 1, 1969-June 30,1971: 16 years
    • July 1, 1971-June 30,1973: 17 years

It is important to note that your UK State Pension will be offset against your NZ Superannuation entitlement. Also when you live in NZ your UK State pension is not indexed linked.

You should discuss your situation with Work and Income directly to clarify the rules for your individual circumstances.

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