New bilateral social security agreement between Belgium and Brazil

Written by Bart Elias 8 October 2014


A social security agreement between Belgium and Brazil enters into force on 1 December 2014.

This agreement enables companies to second employees to the other country while keeping them subject to the home social security scheme and guarantees equal treatment for workers living or working in the other country.

This social security agreement – which was signed on 4 October 2009 – will greatly affect Belgian and Brazilian companies who are actively doing business in the other country as it creates the possibility to assign employees to the other country while keeping them subject to the home social security scheme.

The new treaty will make it possible to second employees to the other country without having them pay social security contributions in that country. Indeed, under the treaty terms and subject to some specific conditions, employees who normally work in either Belgium or Brazil can be temporarily seconded by their employer to the other country under the continued application of the social security scheme of the country where they normally work. Such secondment is possible for a term of 24 months, possibly extendable to 60 months as a maximum. This rule also applies to self-employed workers temporarily working in the other country.

The treaty does not include any specific transitory provisions dealing with ongoing assignments. Employees who are already working in Brazil before 1 December 2014 on behalf of your company and who are no longer subject to the Belgian social security scheme will thus not qualify for a secondment due to the fact that secondment under the home social security scheme is only possible for employees who have been contributing to that scheme prior to being seconded.

The social security agreement also ensures equal treatment for workers living or working in the other country and preserves the social security rights previously acquired by a worker. This means that Belgian employees or self-employed persons who have been working in Brazil (and vice versa) will safeguard their entitlements to old-age pension, survivor’s pension or disability benefits for these periods. If someone has worked a couple of years in Brazil but returns to Belgium before retirement, he will thus get a Brazilian old-age or survivor’s pension in Belgium when reaching the pensionable age. The agreement also acknowledges the years spent in the other country prior to 1 December 2014.

The social security agreement applies to all individuals who are or have been subject to the social security scheme of Belgium or Brazil. This means that no nationality requirement applies.

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