The social security agreement between Estonia and Australia will help their citizens claim a pension from both countries. It will also exempt people temporarily working in the other country from having to pay into superannuation and pension schemes twice.
The agreement was signed by Minister of Social Protection Margus Tsahkna and Australian Ambassador Gerald Thomson on Monday. The changes are estimated to take effect on 2018.
The measure will help people access retirement benefits if they live in Australia or Estonia and have lived and/or worked in both countries.
In addition, it allows to combine some periods of employment in both, so people can meet basic eligibility requirements for a pension in either country.
In Estonia, people usually need 15 years of employment history to receive a state pension. If, for example, they have worked in Estonia only five years, but were employed in Australia for another 10, they have the right for a pension proportionate to 15 years of employment in Estonia.
The agreement will also make it easier for employers to send workers on foreign assignments and avoid paying social security in two countries.
Australia is currently home to the sixth largest Estonian community – about 10,000 people – in the world. According to the population registry, 2,218 Estonian citizens live there on a more permanent basis. Estonia, at the same time, is home to around 30 Australians.
Estonia has so far signed similar agreements with Russia, Moldova, Ukraine and Canada. Negotiations with several other countries are under way.
Editor: M. Oll