Australia and the Republic of Serbia have signed a new social security agreement that will improve access to retirement benefits for eligible people who have moved between the two countries.
The agreement was signed last night in Belgrade by His Excellency Mr Daniel Emery, Australian Ambassador to Serbia, and Mr Nikola Selakovic, Serbian Minister of Labour, Employment, Veteran and Social Affairs.
Minister for Social Services Amanda Rishworth welcomed the signing of the agreement and said it heralded a strengthening of Australia’s relationship with Serbia as well as greater benefits for retirees.
“This new agreement will improve access to social security for people who split their lives between Australia and Serbia or have moved from one country to the other,” Minister Rishworth said.
“This agreement will give people more freedom to move between Australia and Serbia, knowing their pension rights will be recognised and protected.”
Minister for Foreign Affairs Senator Penny Wong said the agreement is an important milestone in Australia’s longstanding relationship with Serbia.
“Our countries are working together to deliver real outcomes for Australians and Serbians, irrespective of where they are based.
“This agreement strengthens our bilateral relationship and incentivises further trade and investment between Australia and Serbia. Under the new agreement, former Australian residents living in Serbia will be able to claim the Australian Age Pension without having to return to Australia."
"Conversely, former Serbian residents living in Australia will have better access to Serbian retirement pensions."
The agreement also includes provisions that allow people to combine periods of residence in Australia with periods of insurance contributions in Serbia to satisfy the minimum requirements for an Australian or Serbian pension, meaning they can access their pension sooner.
Additionally, workers temporarily seconded to Australia or Serbia will no longer have to pay compulsory superannuation and pension contributions in both their home country and host country, removing the onus of double payments and improving their retirement income.
The new social security agreement is expected to come into effect in 2024, following the completion of treaty, legal and administrative processes in both countries.
More information on international social security agreements is available on the Department of Social Services website.