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Claim for pension under the bilateral agreement system

Publication: 04/04/2022

People who have worked in non-EU Member States with whom Italy has stipulated a bilateral agreement on social security, may request attestation to pension rights through the institute of international totalisation of Italian and foreign insurance periods accrued.

The international pension is aimed at people who have worked in the following non-EU countries affiliated with Italy: Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada and Quebec, Israel, Channel Islands and the Isle of Man, Mexico, Countries of former Yugoslavia*, Principality of Monaco, Republic of Cape Verde, Republic of Korea (posting only), Republic of San Marino, the Holy See, Tunisia, Turkey, USA (United States of America), Uruguay, Venezuela.

*The countries of former Yugoslavia are: Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Republic of Kosovo, Republic of Macedonia, Republic of Montenegro, Republic of Serbia and Vojvodina (Autonomous Region)

From the insurance and social security point of view, working abroad poses the problem of precisely identifying the applicable social security and tax legislation, because of the non-EU country where the migrant worker carries out their activity.

In this regard, Italy has entered into bilateral social security Agreements with the foreign states previously mentioned. The foreign contribution is counted when the Agreement contemplates the institute of international totalisation, in order to accrue the requirements for the right to a pension, as if it were a contribution paid in Italy. The amount of the pension is calculated in proportion to the contributions credited to the Italian insurance, according to the pro-rata calculation.

Similarly, the competent institutions of the foreign states shall determine the right to benefits, at their expense, taking into account, if necessary and provided for by the bilateral Agreement, the contribution accredited in Italy.

The bilateral social security Agreements are legal acts under international law by which each State undertakes to ensure equal treatment and portability of rights to migrant citizens of the other State, granting them the same benefits as those provided for their own citizens, in order to facilitate the free movement of labour.

The bilateral agreements, unlike EU regulations, must be ratified by an ordinary law in order to operate in the national law of the State. The agreements are only valid for the signatory States and operate autonomously with respect to other Agreements.

The bilateral Agreements are based on three principles:

  • the equal treatment for which each State is obliged to grant the nationals of the other contracting State the same treatment and the same benefits as those accorded to its own citizens;
  • the preservation of the acquired rights and the possibility of obtaining payment of benefits in the country of residence, even if they are paid by another State;
  • the totalisation of insurance and contribution periods for the work done in each of the two agreed States, which are cumulated, if not superimposed, in compliance with and within the limits of the individual national legislations, in order to allow the completion of the requirements for the right to pension benefits.

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