10.21.1.20 General Principles of the Agreement with Switzerland

General principles

The Agreement with Switzerland is a shared responsibility agreement that helps people to qualify for benefits they might not otherwise get, and conforms with Australia's shared responsibility agreements by allowing people who are or have been Australian residents to:

  • lodge claims for Australian benefits in Australia or Switzerland, or a third country with which Australia has a social security agreement which provides for claim lodgement, and
  • totalise periods of residence in Australia with periods of insurance in Switzerland (other than periods for which contributions have been refunded) for the purpose of meeting minimum requirements to qualify for Australian benefits, and
  • receive relevant Australian benefits in either country.

Under the Agreement, Australian citizens and their family members and survivors will receive the same treatment as Swiss nationals and will be able to have their Swiss benefits paid in Australia, or a third country under the same conditions as Swiss nationals and their family members and survivors.

In certain circumstances Australians who do not reside in Switzerland or people who leave Switzerland permanently will receive or be able to take a lump sum payment in lieu of a pension. Alternatively, Australians leaving Switzerland permanently will continue to be able to receive a refund of their contributions. People who have received a refund will not be able to use those periods of insurance to totalise for a benefit under the Agreement.

Provisions to avoid double coverage ensure that Australian and Swiss employers do not need to make compulsory contributions into both systems when an employee is sent to work temporarily in the other country.

Act reference: SS(IntAgree)Act Schedule 20 Switzerland

Last reviewed: 21 September 2015