Are Social Security agreements between India and EU Member States Valuable and Effective? Implementation and Actual Benefits

With over a decade of SSAs being operational, a study was conducted by ILO in 2020-2021 to investigate the implementation and actual benefits of the social security agreements between India and EU MS.

The study concluded that the existing social security agreements with India and some EU Member States (MS) are indeed effective and valuable for employers and employees and also for the respective countries overall. These agreements prevent duplication of contributions and ensure continued social security coverage. They also support the competitiveness of nations by attracting the right talent from other countries and preserving long-term rights of citizens even when overseas. Such agreements also ensure social equality in the labour market, enhanced remittances and continued contributions to social funds of countries of origin.

All SSAs between EU MS and India follow to varying degrees, the four social security principles as outlined by ILO international standards: exemption, non-discrimination, totalization, exportability. There are nevertheless some challenges in implementation, including partial exemptions, administrative hurdles in obtaining the certificate of coverage, denial of certificates and cumbersome withdrawal of benefits for foreign nationals. The notion of the international worker in the Indian context raised challenges with regards to equality of treatments.

Recognising the benefits for employers, employees and countries, the study goes on to make suggestions including the need for better and enhanced communication and information sharing at multiple levels.