British Expats and Retirement: The Frozen Pensions Scandal

What you need to know about YOUR pension if you move to Australia from the UK.

Lives of great men all remind us
We can make our lives sublime,
And, departing, leave behind us
Footprints on the sands of time
                                                              ….Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.

Yes, we are all getting older whether we like it or not. Whether I like it or not, I’m rapidly approaching my retirement years, you know, time to hang up my boots. Time to whittle twigs on my veranda. A chance to kick back and take it easy.

Well, is not quite that time yet, but what used to be an event I could only imagine in some distant future is now a fast approaching reality.


Not being the whittling kind, I imagine my retirement to be blessed with travel, having fun and occasionally sipping the odd Pina colada (figuratively speaking, I’m sure I’ll still be drinking beer) whilst sitting on some sundrenched beach.

Well, I’m in Australia, how can my retirement not be good?

Ironically, the answer may well be because I AM IN AUSTRALIA. As a British expat retiring in Australia, my pension, which I paid cold hard cash into during my working years in the UK, unlike that sundrenched beach will actually be FROZEN!!!!

Had I moved to Canada, New Zealand or even Pakistan, I would have still have suffered this ridiculous discrimination, yet if I had moved to the USA, Macedonia or the Philippines, for example, my pension would have been index linked as it should be for me here in Australia.

I have to tell you, all this is making me ANGRY!!!

angryI know I am repeating a good deal that was said over a year ago in my post called British Pensions in Australia: The Bad News, but as this problem has still not yet been resolved, then I think it’s still worth reminding you of the situation.

Lots of people and organisations are fighting on our behalf; by “our” I mean all of those expats in countries where our pensioners are being discriminated against, or as I would call it, ripped off.

We do have some media behind this campaign as well, in particular the UK’s Mail Online.

A couple of days ago they posted an article called Suspend Britain from Commonwealth over unfair expat pensions.

Suspend Britain from the Commonwealth? Is this possible? On what basis?

Here’s one quote from the article…

Sheila Telford, chairman of the International Consortium of British Pensioners, told The Telegraph: “The UK is now defaulting on the Commonwealth Equality Charter, which Her Majesty the Queen signed in March this year, calling for equality and an end to discrimination for all. We believe that until this issue of discrimination and inequality is dealt with, the Commonwealth should consider suspending the UK from membership.

It’s not just discrimination either, it’s downright theft in my view. For those who don’t know, people like myself paid into the UK’s National Insurance Fund Pension Scheme because we had to. There was no choice, it was mandatory.

We had to pay so that we could provide for our own retirements.

Imagine if I had telephoned the UK government 30 years ago and said “Hey, how’s it going? Just a quickie, I’m going to be moving to Australia when I’m about 50 years old, so you won’t need to look after me when I retire. Alright if I duck out of this pension payments thingy scheme of yours?

What do you think they would have said to me?

Exactly! And I think that’s kind of what they are still saying to me now.

What can we do about this?

If you click both of the links already mentioned above, and I will be repeating them both again below, there are things you can do from each of those pages that just might help. Half a million British expats are affected by this frozen pensions fiasco, we all need to make our voices heard.

Even if you are not yet affected, but you do hope to one day move to one of the countries that is on the frozen pensions list, make your voice heard now!

Remember Jim Tilley? Here he is again with former Prime Minister of Australia, John Howard…

Jim Tilley and John HowardWell, I got an email from Jim, this is what he would like us to do…

Please read this article and vote YES on the survey which asks: Should the Government pay the full state pension to all expats?

Please register and post a comment.

This is important. Please don’t just vote YES, but pass the link on to all your friends and relations to do the same and ask them to do likewise.

Thank you, on behalf of the board of BPiA

Again, this is where you need to go to do that…

Suspend Britain from Commonwealth over unfair expat pensions.

And as Jim mentioned, do leave a comment, there are already hundreds there; I want to quote just one. It came from someone who called himself icaruscan…

My mother, who died recently at 102 years of age, received less than 7 pounds sterling per week for the 32 years that she lived with us in Canada. One more British pensioner short changed by a UK government that she trusted with her retirement wellbeing.

Whether it’s in Canada, Australia or anywhere else where pensions are frozen by the UK government, less than £7.00 a week does not go far, does it?

When I am 102, looks like I won’t be sipping those Pina coladas on the beach, at less than £7.00 I’ll be lucky to be able to afford just one cold beer a week…. and nothing else on my pension.

And that’s just not fair dinkum.

Here is that link to my article again as promised: British Pensions in Australia: The Bad News.

Planning ahead

Unfortunately though, I truly think that if you are considering moving here to Australia to live permanently, or even if you have already done so, you need to make plans of your own to ensure you do provide for yourself when you retire.

That’s why you really need to be aware of this.

Something tells me nothing is going to change, despite the best efforts of all those campaigning against this injustice, but let’s hope I’m wrong about that.

PS. And another thing…

This makes me angry as well. Remember my post about Compulsory Third Party (CTP) Insurance? Well, my rego was up for renewal the other day and when the notification arrived it included CTP insurance through their selected insurer.

You don’t have to use the default insurer though, you can go online and check out prices from the others and then select a different insurer if you want.

Could I save some money here, I wondered? So I logged online and went through the process of filling in some of my details to get alternative quotes.

Here’s what I got…

CTP insurance quotesAnybody else smell a cartel?

Normal service will be resumed on Friday when the angry (but not yet a) pensioner from within me will take a very long nap after having a sneaky glass of sherry, allowing Bobinoz to resurface and tell you once again about the joys of life in Australia.
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{ 12 comments… add one }
  • Tress Tan August 29, 2013, 7:23 am |

    Dear Bob in Oz,

    Sorry to hear about this. I know a nun who came here at 15 and she has now return to the UK. Guess what she is getting her full pension like many who have return to Italy etc you name it they have got it. Is not Australia still a Commonwealth country so why the discrimination. I fail to understand how you can be fighting a losing battle. Your retirement money are your hard earn money. It belongs to you. Well, don’t we so happy about retiring here as the country of Milk and Honey can be drying up as there are many who are coming to this country to get their freebies. The immigrants now get better money than our poor pensioners who has worked and pay tax. TT

    • BobinOz August 30, 2013, 12:20 am |

      I remember when I was a kid, and I used to say (sometimes) “It’s not fair!”. My dad used to say “Nobody said this world was fair son”.

      He was right.

      And it’s still not fair.

      Thanks Tress and hopefully, one day, for UK expat pensioners in Australia (and Canada) it will be fair 🙂


  • Dr O August 26, 2013, 3:38 am |

    I hadn’t realised it was considered fraud to spend 6 months in the UK followed by 6 months abroad. It could mean living in perpetual summer. Or for Australians having their winter in the UK. I think you will find its perfectly legal.
    But for you Bob it may be too high a price. Depends on your financial position I suppose.

    • BobinOz August 26, 2013, 11:59 pm |

      Well, no, it certainly is not fraud if you are completely transparent about it, I got the impression your scheme involved a little camouflage. I’d rather have a frozen pension than live in the UK for six months in every year, remember I do live in Brisbane, I am already living in perpetual summer 🙂

  • Steve White August 22, 2013, 11:04 pm |

    Actually,without having a full on rant about my disillusionment with life in the uk these days maybe I’ll take a leaf out of bobs book and pos a link entitled “20 reasons to leave Britain (while the going’s good).
    1. M.P. expenses scandal.
    (For which you or me would have meant a break in wormwood scrubs).

    2. The P.P.I. Fraud scandal
    (For which …as above).

    3. The banking collapse government bailout.
    (Saved a few people’s savings but cost everyone else).


    I love my country,but I’m not going to miss the people that have run it into the ground,and as for the pensions, I’ll just have to work a bit longer and save….or maybe sell a kidney.

    • BobinOz August 23, 2013, 9:38 pm |

      Great idea for a book, how did you think of the title? 🙂

      Anyway, how much do you want your kidney? Just kidding.

  • Steve White August 22, 2013, 10:37 pm |

    Don’t you just find it amazing that they treat some people like this yet will pay a winter fuel allowance to multi millionaire retiree’s that live in northern Spain…..which as we all know gets snow in the winter. Oh no…that’s wrong isn’t it! (Do the Spanish have a word for frost?).

    • BobinOz August 23, 2013, 9:34 pm |

      A good number of the older pensioners, the ones who have been hit hardest, actually fought in World War II to defend England, and this is how they are repaid.

      Doesn’t make sense, does it? Where’s the justice?

      Thanks Steve!


  • Yusuf Salam August 22, 2013, 9:20 pm |

    Hi Bob,
    An interesting article you’ve highlighted in your blog. Just makes me wonder, “When” will people wake up and realise this is what so called “free” and “democratic” countries do to their long serving citizens. This is exactly what Capitalism, with big “C” does to its people. Oh well actually they are not considered people, rather “figures and numbers” in the statistics. I could not help being more amazed of how this “theft” is being orchestrated using some elaborated methods, regulations, words and explanations.
    Bottom line is, all are being deceived and robbed, wether we admit it, realize it or not. Not sure what more to say rather than making own “savings” as much as possible and not “relying” on governments or institutions (banks etc) in time of need. I never put my money in the bank and would never trust any such places. I’d rather use the money to buy properties, assets, investments and much more in order to avoid such schemes of “clear theft”.
    All the best from me!

    • BobinOz August 23, 2013, 9:32 pm |

      I’m with you on this one Yusuf, that’s why I said towards the end of the article that people really need to be making plans of their own.

      I’m not sure this is anything much to do with free, democratic or capitalist countries, I think pretty much every government in every country in the world are taking things from us that they really should not be taking.

      “Deceived and robbed” probably does sum it up. Happy days!

      All the best from me too.


  • Dr O August 22, 2013, 6:26 pm |

    To get round this quite unfair policy shouldn’t you all ‘move’ back to the UK and draw your pension into a UK bank account? Then spend time in your favourite country for ‘extended’ holidays.

    • BobinOz August 23, 2013, 9:16 pm |

      Last place I want to go on holiday is England! Interesting plan you have there, although the words “fraud” and “deception” spring to mind. I think anyone trying this may well be on dodgy ground.

      Cheers Doctor,


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