Media Release by The Hon Jenny Macklin MP

Social security agreement signed with Latvia

A new social security agreement between Australia and Latvia will make retirement easier for about 2000 residents of both countries.

From 2012, when the Agreement is expected to commence, people who have spent part of their adult lives in both Australia and Latvia will have access to pensions from both countries.

The Agreement was signed today in Riga, the capital of Latvia, by the Prime Minister’s special envoy, Dr Russell Trood, and the Latvian Minister for Welfare, Ms Ilona Jursevska.

The Government recognises that many people live and work in more than one country and that this requires measures to protect their retirement income. Through this agreement, people who have moved between the two countries will now have better retirement incomes.

The Agreement gives people more freedom to move between Australia and Latvia, knowing that their pension entitlements will be recognised and protected.

Australians currently living in Latvia will have access to the Australian Age Pension, while Australian residents who previously lived in Latvia will have access to Latvian old age and survivors’ pensions and death benefits.

The agreement will also remove the requirement for compulsory contributions to be paid into both countries’ superannuation and pension systems for temporarily seconded workers.

Australia already has 26 social security agreements, including with Austria, Belgium, Canada, Chile, Croatia, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Korea, Malta, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovenia, Spain, Switzerland and the USA.

Social security agreements with the Slovak Republic and Hungary have also been signed and are expected to commence on 1 January next year and in mid 2012 respectively.

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