New Delhi: India and Switzerland on Thursday signed a social security agreement that will benefit workers in each other’s country and provide for cooperation in areas of labour market expansion, employment facilitation and orderly migration.
Under the agreement, workers on short term contracts of upto six years will not be required to make any social security contribution in the country of employment provided they continue to make social security payments in the country of their origin.
“This is a major milestone. The pact is a symbol of longstanding bilateral relationship between India and Switzerland,” vice president and minister of economic affairs of Switzerland Doris Leuthard, who was present on the occasion, said.
Leuthard, who is in New Delhi to participate in talks on WTO Ministerial meeting being hosted by India, said every employee of both the countries will benefit from the pact.
The pact was signed by secretary in ministry of overseas Indian affairs K. Mohandas and Swiss ambassador Philippe Welti.
“The agreement will enhance cooperation on social security between the two countries. It will facilitate the movement of professionals between the two countries,” said Mohandas.
There are over 11,000 Indians in Switzerland and there are over 800 Swiss nationals working in India. India has signed similar pacts with Belgium, France and Germany in the recent past.
Mohandas said the pact will enhance trade and investment between the two countries.
He said the workers sent by Switzerland based companies to their Indian subsidiaries or those sent by Indian companies to their branches in Switzerland will be exempt from social security contribution in the host country for a period of 72 months.
According to the pact, Indian workers will be entitled for refund of the contributions at the time of completion of their service in Switzerland.
India is also holding talks with the US for a similar social security pact.
Social security agreements eliminate double payment on social security contribution, exempt detached workers from host country legislation and enable portability of pension and prevent loss of benefits.
Officials of the ministry of overseas Indian affairs said one of the priorities of the government is to diversify the overseas destination base for Indian workers and secure labour markets for them in the emerging job opportunities across the globe.