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> MIGRANT Home > Good practices database - Labour migration policies and programmes > Portability of social security rights to nationals of both the EU and third countries

Portability of social security rights to nationals of both the EU and third countries

  • Responsible Organisations: European Union Member States (Government)
  • ILO Regions: Europe and Central Asia
  • Country(ies): Austria; Belgium; Bulgaria; Croatia; Cyprus; Czech Republic; Denmark; Estonia; Finland; France; Germany; Greece; Hungary; Ireland; Italy; Latvia; Liechtenstein; Lithuania; Luxembourg; Malta; Netherlands; Norway; Poland; Portugal; Romania; Slovakia ; Slovenia; Spain; Sweden; Switzerland; United Kingdom
  • Thematic areas: Protection; Regional labour mobility
  • MLFLM: 8.; 9.(a),(b),(c); 11.


Ever since Regulation 1408/71, passed in June 1971, the European Union has sought to coordinate the social security rights of persons moving within its borders. As from 1 May 2010, the above-mentioned Regulation has been replaced and new Regulations on modernised coordination apply (Regulations 883/2004 and 987/2009). Among other things, social security coordination implies that individuals are covered by the legislation of one country at a time. They hold the same rights and obligations as nationals of the country in question. Finally, if an EU national is entitled to a cash benefit from one EU country, they may generally receive it even if they move to a third country. The EU's common rules apply to all nationals of the EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland - as well as stateless persons and refugees - who are resident in and who are or have been insured in one of these countries, and their family members. They also apply to nationals of non-EU countries who are legal residents of and have moved between the above countries. EU regulations do not harmonise but coordinate the social security schemes of Member States, meaning that they do not replace national systems with a single European one. All countries are therefore free to decide who is to be insured under their legislation, which benefits are granted and under what conditions.


last updated on 19.05.2015^ top