At the moment there is no an international social security system that is independent and autonomous from the social security system of each country. By this I mean that each country can decide who is going to be insured under their legislation, which requirements need to be met and the benefits they are going to receive.

In terms of international social security legislation, coordination rules between the different countries is the main resource;  the aim of these common rules is to protect  nationals when moving to other countries and to guarantee their rights to the  same or at least similar benefits  of social security as local employees. To add more complexity to this issue, different rules apply depending on the host country involved. This mean that we have to distinguish between: EU countries, countries with bilateral social security agreements and countries without social security agreements:

  • Within the EU framework the main principles of these coordination rules include:  avoiding dual contributions for the same period and person, the non- discrimination principle, taking the previous year of insurance into account if necessary when you claiming a benefit and the principle of exportability.
  • Currently Spain has 23 bilateral social security agreements; they eliminate dual social security taxation and aim to protect employees who have worked in Spain and other countries, by applying totalization rules.
  • Since 1982 we can apply for a ministerial order when moving our employees to a country without a bilateral agreement.

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