Global Alerts

BELGIUM – First 5-year Threshold of the Belgian-Indian Social Security Agreement Approaches; Possible Exceptions Made for Certain Individuals

Originally implemented September 1st of 2009, the Belgium-Indian bilateral social security agreement permits any employees that are temporarily seconded to Belgium by their Indian employer to keep their Indian social security coverage, while at the same being exempt from the Belgian social security system through the duration of their assignment. Maintaining Indian social security coverage while in Belgium does incur significant costs for the Indian employer.

According to the agreement, the maximum period of time that a “secondment” may last is five years. This means that the very first 5-year period will expire this coming August 31st. If an employee is still in Belgium past this date, Belgium’s local social security legislation will become applicable, and the employee’s coverage will be transferred.

However, it has been recently confirmed by the Belgian social security administration that exceptions to the 5-year period may be made. These additional exceptions will be considered on an individual basis, only if a previous agreement by both countries’ social security administrations may be obtained. In the following situations, an extension of an additional year may be requested:

  • If the seconded employee must finalize duties in Belgium;
  • If the seconded employee is near retirement age;
  • If there was a significant restructuring within the company that had changed or extended the assignment for which the employee was seconded.

While these exceptional extensions may be granted for a year, employees must no longer work in Belgium after the additional period. If an employee continues to work in Belgium after his/her extension has ended, his/her coverage will be retroactively transferred to Belgium’s social security legislation as of the exceptional extension’s start date.

In situations where none of the three groups for extension are applicable to a seconded employee and he/she continues to work in Belgium past his/her 5-year period, there are other options available to alleviate the burden that is associated with the Belgian social security scheme for employees. It should be remembered, though, that these other options will only be available to a limited number of individuals.

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