Indian Workers Abroad to Get Better Deal

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New Delhi, Sep 17 (UNI) India is set to sign a series of Social Security Agreements with foreign countries for securing a better deal for its nationals working abroad.

Indian workers are often posted to these countries by their Indian employers on short-term contract and during this period, they continue to make social security contribution in India as per Indian law. Yet, they are compelled to pay contribution under the host countries' legislations too.

Moreover, they do not get any benefit from the social security contribution made abroad, because most countries do not allow export of social security benefit.

They also have a minimum contribution period criteria as a result of which if a worker stays abroad for a lesser period, the contribution made by him is simply lost.

Similarly, the self-employed Indians in these countries, despite having made contribution throughout their active life spent there, are deprived of any benefits in case they relocate to India in old age, which is often the case.

Another disadvantage is that due to the high rate of social security tax, the Indian companies become less competitive while bidding for projects in these countries.

When the proposed agreements are signed with other countries, the disadvantageous situation for Indian workers would come to an end.

The Government has already approved signing of agreements with Germany, Netherlands, Oman and Bahrain, which are slated to be signed next month. An agreement with France is likely to come up for the approval of the Union Cabinet soon.

Negotiations are currently being carried on for conclusion of an agreement with Switzerland. Discussions are scheduled with Norway and Sweden in coming days. India has already signed a Social Security Agreement with Belgium, an official release said here.

Bilateral social security agreements with these countries can protect the interests of Indian professionals by securing exemption from social security contribution in case of short-term contracts (provided the worker is covered under the Indian social security system and continues to pay his contribution to the Indian system during the period of contract).

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