Media Release by The Hon Jenny Macklin MP

Social Security Agreement signed with the Czech Republic

A new Social Security Agreement with the Czech Republic will make retirement easier for 2000 residents of Australia and the Czech Republic.

From 2011, when the agreement is expected to commence, people who have spent part of their adult lives in both Australia and the Czech Republic will have access to pensions from both countries.

Under the agreement, Australians living in the Czech Republic will have access to the Age Pension, while former Czech Republic citizens living in Australia will have access to age, invalidity and survivors’ benefits.

The agreement was signed today by the Minister for Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs, Jenny Macklin and the Czech Republic Ambassador to Australia, Juraj Chmiel.

This agreement gives people more freedom to move between Australia and the Czech Republic, knowing that their pension rights will be recognised and protected.

It recognises the reality that many people live and work in more than one country and this requires arrangements which safeguard their retirement income.

As well as improving access to pensions, the agreement will also encourage further business ties between Australia and the Czech Republic.

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

Through our strong relations with the Czech Republic, the Australian Government has secured this agreement to provide better retirement income for people who have moved between the two countries.

Australia already has 23 social security agreements with Austria, Belgium, Canada, Chile, Croatia, Cyprus, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Korea, Malta, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Slovenia, Spain, Switzerland and the USA.

As part of the 2009-10 Budget, the Australian Government also agreed to finalise social security agreements with the Slovak Republic and Latvia.