20 May 2021

Social Security Agreement between Switzerland and Turkey

Social security agreements are intended to prevent the risk of loss of entitlements or double contributions in international situations.


The Social Security Agreement between Switzerland and Turkey (hereinafter: SSA CH-TR) entered into force on 1 January 1972. With the exception of a few amendments, the agreement is still in force and unchanged today.

1.   Scope of the agreement

1.1   Personal scope 

Nationals and their dependants and survivors of the Contracting Countries shall be treated in the same way as nationals of that Contracting Country as regards their rights and obligations under the legislation of the other Contracting Country, unless the Agreement provides otherwise. Turkish and Swiss nationals who are entitled to social security benefits in one of the Contracting Countries shall receive these benefits in full as long as they reside in the territory of that Contracting Country. If a national of one of the two Contracting Countries who is entitled to benefits moves to a third country he must be granted benefits to the same extent as those granted by that country to its own nationals residing there.

1.2   Material scope of the agreement

With regard to Turkey, the SSA CH-TR applies to legislation concerning social insurance for employees (sickness, maternity, invalidity, old age, death, occupational accidents and occupational illnesses), the pension fund for civil servants and employees of the country, social insurance for self-employed persons, and the pension funds of banks, chambers of commerce and industry, insurance companies and stock exchanges.

With regard to Switzerland, the Agreement applies to federal legislation on old-age and survivors' insurance, disability insurance, insurance against occupational and non-occupational accidents and against occupational illnesses, and family allowances for agricultural workers and small scale farmers.

In principle, gainfully employed persons are subject to the legislation of the Contracting Country in whose territory they carry on this activity. If a person exercises a gainful activity in both Contracting Countries, this person is subject to the legislation of the respective country for the activity exercised on the respective country's territory. However, the SSA CH-TR provides for various exceptions to this principle. Swiss nationals are only covered by Turkish disability, old-age and survivors' insurance upon application.

Workers who are temporarily posted to perform work in the territory of the other Country remain, for the first 24 months, subject to the legislation of the Country in whose territory the enterprise is established. In exceptional cases, this period may be further extended by the competent authorities.

Furthermore, workers of transport companies operating in the territory of the other Contracting Country shall be subject to the legislation of the Contracting Country in whose territory the company is established. Employees of a public service posted by one Contracting Country to the territory of the other Contracting Country shall also be subject to the legislation of the posting Contracting Country. Members of a diplomatic or consular representation shall be subject to the legislation of the Contracting Country for which they work.

2.   Disability, old age and death

2.1   Application of Swiss legislation

Under the same conditions as Swiss nationals, Turkish nationals are entitled to ordinary pensions and unemployment benefits under the Swiss old-age and survivors' insurance scheme. Turkish nationals are also entitled to Swiss disability insurance rehabilitation measures if they have paid contributions for at least one full year before becoming disabled. Wives and widows who are not gainfully employed and underage children of Turkish nationals are entitled to rehabilitation measures if they have lived in Switzerland for at least one year before becoming disabled or if the child were born disabled in Switzerland. Turkish nationals are also entitled to ordinary pensions and helplessness allowances from the Swiss disability insurance scheme, unless the insured person is less than 50% incapacitated and leaves Switzerland permanently. Contribution periods completed under both Swiss and Turkish legislations are taken into account when calculating contribution periods, but only Swiss contribution periods are taken into account when calculating average annual income.

If Turkish nationals have left Switzerland, they can request that the contributions paid for their benefit be transferred to the Turkish social security system. These contributions and also the corresponding insurance periods are then used to calculate the Turkish pension. Turkish nationals are also entitled to extraordinary old-age, survivors' and disability insurance pensions as long as they are resident in Switzerland and have lived in Switzerland for at least ten years before receiving an old-age pension and at least five years before receiving a survivors' or disability pension.

2.2   Application of Turkish legislation

The contribution periods completed in Switzerland are taken into account when establishing entitlement to an old-age or survivors' pension in accordance with Turkish legislation, provided they do not overlap and the Turkish contribution period is at least one year. The relevant salary is determined exclusively on the basis of the Turkish contribution periods. With regard to the disability pension, the contribution periods completed in Switzerland are only taken into account if an insured person would have no entitlement based purely on the contribution periods completed under Turkish legislation. A recipient of a 50% Swiss disability insurance pension who is resident in Turkey may also receive a Turkish disability insurance pension, provided that the contribution periods completed in Turkey entitle him/her to do so.

3.   Occupational accidents and illnesses

Turkish and Swiss nationals as well as citizens of third countries who are insured under the legislation of one Contracting Country and who suffer an occupational accident or an occupational illness in the other Contracting Country are entitled to claim all necessary benefits in kind from the competent insurance institution. These benefits are also payable if the policyholder transfers his residence to the territory of the other Contracting Country during medical treatment provided the insurance institution consents. This consent must be granted if no medical objections have been raised against it and the person is going to join his/her relatives.

4.   Family allowances

Employees of Turkish nationality who work in agriculture are also entitled to child allowance if their children live outside Switzerland. Turkish employees in Switzerland who do not work in agriculture are not entitled to child allowance if their children live outside Switzerland.

5.   Miscellaneous provisions

The authorities and competent insurance institutions are obliged to assist each other in the implementation of the Agreement as if they were applying their own legislation. For this purpose, information and medical findings from the other Contracting Country must be taken into account, if necessary. Requests, declarations or appeals shall also be deemed to have been submitted in due time if they are submitted to the other Contracting Country. The documents submitted must then be forwarded to the competent authority. Any difficulties that arise are to be settled by mutual agreement between the competent authorities. If this does not succeed, the dispute must be submitted to arbitration.

6.   Transitional and final provisions

The agreement is tacitly renewed annually if it is not terminated by either Contracting Country with three months' notice at the end of the year. The rights acquired under the agreement shall continue to exist even in the event of termination.

If you have any questions or require further information, please contact our social security team.
 

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Categories: Pension Funds

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