Beyond the “Guest Worker” Agreement
Portability of Pensions and Health Insurance for Pensioners in the Migration Corridors Austria/Germany vs. Turkey

Authors: Michael Fuchs

Vienna, 2015
Policy Brief August

18 pages

With the increase of international integration in Europe and beyond, the number of persons who acquire pension insurance periods in more than one country is on the rise. Thus, the portability of social benefits becomes an increasing concern for individuals and policy-makers. Portability is defined as the ability to preserve, maintain and transfer vested social security rights, independent of nationality and country of residence.

The present Policy Brief looks at the portability of pensions and health insurance for pensioners in the migration corridors Austria/Germany vs. Turkey and focuses on the situation in Austria and Germany. The bilateral social security agreement between Germany and Turkey was already concluded in 1964, between Austria and Turkey in 1966. They represent typical recruitment agreements with a broad objective area of application incl. health insurance.

In 2014, 3.1% of the Austrian population and 3.5% of the German population had a Turkish migration background. The figures include 1.4% with Turkish citizenship in Austria and 1.9% with Turkish citizenship in Germany. Of persons with Turkish citizenship, in Austria only 6.5% were above 65 years, in Germany 14.8%. According to data from the Austrian and German pension insurance for 2012, the return orientation that was still important for the Turkish working migrants of the first generation, has lost its guiding role in Germany, but not in Austria.

The average pension paid to Turkish citizens is clearly below the average of all Austrian (German) pensions paid. Especially for Turkish women, the combination of low wages (often with reduced working hours) and rather short insurance biographies leads to low old-age pensions.

The quality criteria of portability regulations, namely individual fairness for individuals, fiscal fairness for host and home countries and bureaucratic effectiveness, are more or less fulfilled in the migration corridors Austria/Germany vs. Turkey. Compared to the respective decrees of the European Union, which represent the most extensive regulations on the multilateral level, and other bilateral agreements concluded by Austria and Germany, there are only minor differences in the bilateral agreements with Turkey.

Beyond the guest worker agreement
pdf, 450 KB, 2015-08-26