Some 3,000 people resident in Australia currently receive the Irish State pension, the Irish Echo has learned.
The Department of Social Protection released the figures to the Irish Echo in response to an enquiry about how changes in pension eligibility would affect older Irish citizens in Australia.
New criteria introduced by the department and brought into effect on April 6 has doubled the number of paid social welfare contributions needed for both the contributory and transition state pensions.
The changes will only apply to new claims and will not have an impact on those already in receipt of Irish pension payments here in Australia.
It is understood that the changes will have a more significant impact on younger emigrants who may choose to remain in Australia for coming decades.
The transition state pension, formerly called the Retirement Pension, is a payment to people aged 65 who have retired from work and who have enough social insurance contributions.
Meanwhile, the contributory state pension is paid to people from the age of 66 who have enough Irish social insurance contributions.
Approximately 3,000 Irish citizens residing in Australia receive the contributory state pension, while 100 people are in receipt of the transition state pension.
The changes mean Irish citizens who were born on or after April 6, 1947 must have 520 paid contributions (ten years) to receive the transition pension.
Similarly, those who were born on the same date in 1946 must have the same number of paid contributions to receive the contributory pension.
A spokesperson for the department explained that people who do not have the 520 contributions paid may be assessed for entitlement to an EU or bilateral pro-rata pension.
Australia and Ireland have a bilateral social security agreement in place, which allows for social insurance contributions paid in Australia to be used meet Irish pension requirements.
Alternatively, such people can seek to be assessed for a mixed insurance pension or use high rate and special rate voluntary contributions to satisfy the 520 requirement.
The person must have worked in Ireland and have a minimum of 52 Irish PRSI contributions to be eligible to combine their Australian and Irish contributions.
The department uses a complex formula to calculate pension entitlements for such claims, which involves adding Irish and Australian contributions together and dividing by years worked to provide an average.
The Social Welfare and Pensions Act 2011 made a number of changes to the qualifying age for pensions. The qualifying age will rise to 67 in 2021 and 68 in 2028.
More information can be found at http://www.welfare.ie/EN/Pages/pensionchanges20122013.aspx.