Pension benefits for expatriates

Pension benefits may be a real headache for expatriates, especially in case of multiple expatriations. Working abroad has consequences when acquiring and transferring pension rights. They depend on different elements:

  • The country in which you work: check if the guest country signed a coordination agreement for social security with your own country
  • Your status during your expatriation: expatriate or detached, and the length of the expatriation

You are expatriate

In this situation, the social right of your expatriation is applicable. When you are in your home country, you are affiliated to your home country social security. If you work abroad, you are affiliated to the compulsory pension scheme. You pay contribution in this country.

Your activity abroad can give you the right to perceive a pension from this country. If you contributed in many countries, including your home country, you will perceive a pension from each country. For this reason, it is essential to keep any document during your career.

EU coordinates the pension schemes of the 27 state members, plus Island, Lichtenstein, Norway and Sweden.

Out of the EU, your home country may have signed bilateral agreements.

If you work in a country with no agreement with your home country, you will have to contribute to the local scheme if it is compulsory. This won’t, unfortunately, be recognized in your home country.

You are detached

Your company gives you a mission in another country than your home country. You will then go on contributing to your home country’s scheme. Detachment has a limited length, from 6 months to 6 years. This situation is possible only if you keep a subordination link with your employer in your home country. If you are detached in a UE state member or one of the four other above mentioned countries, or in a state that signed a bilateral agreement with your home country, you won’t have to contribute to the expatriation social security scheme. On the contrary, if you work in a country with no European agreement or no bilateral agreement, you will have to contribute on one hand in the state in which you are detached, on the other hand in your home country.