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A QROPS is a Qualifying Recognised Overseas Pension Scheme that has met the criteria set by HM Inland Revenue (HMRC) and is recognised by HMRC. Any QROPS - or ROPS as it is also referred to - can accept transfers from a UK registered pension scheme.

For many years, teachers of all nationalities that have worked in the UK and have a pension and those moving overseas have been faced with difficulties when dealing with UK pensions, as the pension is usually 'trapped' back in the UK. One of the main difficulties has been the tax treatment of UK pensions. Until relatively recently, it has been virtually impossible to move a UK pension to an overseas pension without being forced to pay basic rate tax on the transfer.

On the 6th April 2006, new regulations for pensions came into play, this created attractive options for transferring UK pensions into foreign plans. Recognised schemes, known as QROPS or ROPS (Qualifying Recognised Overseas Pension Scheme) are now available and mean that those who are or will be non UK-resident can transfer UK pensions without tax deduction and ultimately draw them without UK tax liability. A key benefit is that up to 30% of the total value of the pension can also be released to the beneficiary as a cash lump sum free of any UK tax liability once the beneficiary has been a non UK resident for 5 full, complete and consecutive tax years at the age of 55.

The UK government introduced major pension reforms in the financial year 2015/16 and as of 6th April 2015, it is no longer possible to transfer out of unfunded public sector schemes, such as the Teachers' Pension, to a QROPS. Transferring out of the Teachers' Pension Scheme is now only allowed in very limited circumstances. However, other pension schemes such as funded local government pension schemes are still able to transfer out.


Teachers’ Wealth gives the best advice by means of not just telling you about the benefits, but also any potential pitfalls you should consider. That's where our free review service becomes invaluable in helping you decide if transferring your pension to either a QROPS or a SIPP is the best course of action for you and your future wealth management plans. Further rules were introduced by HMRC in the Spring 2017 budget, making a pension transfer out of the UK more restricted. This being the case, it is even more important now to seek full and proper, impartial advice when considering a transfer.

Transferring your UK pension is not right for everybody and the full facts of a transfer need to be presented before an informed decision can be made.