Australia commences new social security agreement with Serbia

  • Joint media release with:
  • The Hon Amanda Rishworth MP, Minister for Social Services

Australia and the Republic of Serbia’s new social security agreement commences today, improving access to retirement benefits for eligible people who have moved between the two countries.

Under the agreement, former Australian residents living in Serbia are able to claim the Australian Age Pension without having to return to Australia to live, and former Serbian residents living in Australia have better access to Serbian retirement pensions.

The agreement also includes provisions to 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.

Minister for Social Services Amanda Rishworth said the agreement will be welcomed by citizens of both Australia and Serbia.

“This agreement improves 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.

“People from both countries will now have more freedom to move between Australia and Serbia, knowing they will be able to access pension entitlements in both countries where eligible.”

Foreign Minister Penny Wong said the new agreement will further strengthen the relationship between the two countries.

"Australia and Serbia are working together to deepen our people-to-people ties and improve the lives of the two communities.

“This is the result of hard work to complete the treaty, legal and administrative processes in both countries to make this agreement possible.”

Additionally, employers of workers temporarily seconded between Australia and Serbia will no longer have to pay both compulsory superannuation contributions in Australia and insurance contributions in Serbia, removing the onus of double payments.

Serbian Ambassador, Rade Stefanovic emphasised the importance of this agreement.

“The Agreement between the Republic of Serbia and Australia on Social Security represents one of the milestones in bilateral cooperation of our countries,” Ambassador Stefanovic said.

“It heralds further strengthening of relations between Serbia and Australia, encourages trade and investments, but also brings huge benefits for the Serbian community here. Australians of Serbian origin and people who have moved between the two countries will be able to more easily access and enjoy their retirement benefits.”

In its first three years, the agreement is expected to result in around 1,000 additional people living in Australia and Serbia being able to access the Australian Age Pension.

More information on international social security agreements is available on the Department of Social Services website.

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