Expats working in three countries may not be eligible for state pension from next year

Due to Brexit, workers who live in the EU, EEA, or Switzerland will have to recalculate the amount of “qualifying years” they have endured to see if they meet the criteria to claim a state pension. However, those that have lived and worked in Australia, Canada or New Zealand may also be facing the same dilemma.

From 1 January 2022, those that have lived and worked in Australia before 1 March 2001, Canada or New Zealand will not be able to count those years towards their UK state pension if both of the following apply:

  • They are a UK, EU or EEA citizen or a Swiss national
  • They plan to move to or live in the EU, EEA or Switzerland on or after 1 January 2022

Those already claiming state pension will have their payments recalculated using only their UK National Insurance records.

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Expats working in three countries may not be eligible for state pension from next year
© GETTY Hiker tied up in UK and EU flags

Anyone who has been living and working in Australia before 1 March 2001 will still be able to count their time toward their UK state pension.

Additionally, those living in Australia, Canada or New Zealand may not be eligible for the annual state pension increase guaranteed by the current double lock or suspended triple lock.

The current expected increase for the financial year starting in April 2022 is 3.1 percent.

Currently, people living in these three countries can count their National Insurance credits for the time that they have spent working there.

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But from next year this won’t be possible which can be worrying for some as even spending less than a year abroad could see one ending up with too few qualifying years at the end of their career.

This will not affect those who:

  • Live in the UK regardless of their nationality
  • Were living in the EU, EEA or Switzerland by 31 December 2021 and are a UK or Swiss national, EU or EEA citizen

Expats working in three countries may not be eligible for state pension from next year
© GETTY Grumpy woman with UK flag glasses

To be eligible for any state pension at all one needs 10 qualifying years on their National Insurance record.

Under the new state pension, which is applicable for men born on or after 6 April 1951 and women born on or after 6 April 1953, one will need 35 qualifying years.

Those within the right age range for the new state pension but have between 10 and 35 qualifying years will only receive a portion of the new state pension.

To claim the basic state pension, those that reached state pension age before 6 April 2016 will need a total of 30 qualifying years.

A qualifying year is classified as any year wherein one or more of the following applied to a person:

  • They were working and paying National Insurance
  • They were receiving National Insurance Credits
  • They were paying voluntary National Insurance contributions

Retirees have also been advised that they can top up their basic state pension income by paying voluntary National Insurance contributions to make up for any gaps on their NI record.

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