India-Australia social security agreement kicks off


Bringing a much-needed respite to many Indian and Australian citizens residing overseas, the social security agreement signed between India and Australia has finally come into force. The agreement that has come into operation enables people of both nations to avail retirement benefits in each other’s country. The agreement is also likely to boost bilateral business ties, with more business now being able to relocate many of their employees in both countries.

According to Australia’s Minister for Social Services Christian Porter and Minister for Small Business and Assistant Treasurer Kelly O’Dwyer, “the Commonwealth government wanted to make sure people who lived and worked in more than one country were not disadvantaged.”

The agreement signed in November 2014 came into force in January  2016. “This agreement will give people more freedom to move between Australia and India, knowing their pension rights will be recognized and protected,” Mr Porter said. “Australian residents living in India will be able to claim the Australian Age Pension without having to return to Australia, while Indian residents living in Australia will have access to Indian retirement pensions. It’s a win-win,” he added.

The social security agreement between India and Australia will enhance business linkages between the two countries. “As a result of this agreement, temporarily seconded workers, and their employers, will only have to make compulsory contributions into their home country’s superannuation or pension system rather than both countries’ systems,” Ms O’Dwyer said.

The agreement is a big incentive for Australian businesses. It is expected to  save Australian businesses operating in India about USD 10 million per year. With the social security agreement coming into force, it will put Australian businesses on an equal footing with their competitors from other countries that already have similar agreements with India. “Further, it is an important step in strengthening Australia’s relationship with India, and shows the government’s commitment to the 3,97,000 Indian-born people living in Australia, who make a substantial contribution to our community,” Ms O’Dwyer said.