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Social insurance Switzerland-EU/EFTA

What is the agreement on the free movement of persons?

The agreement on the free movement of persons is one of seven bilateral agreements between Switzerland and EU which came into effect on 1 June, 2002. Under this agreement, workers will gradually be allowed to move freely between Switzerland and the EU. The right to freedom of movement will also include the mutual recognition of professional qualifications and the coordination of national social security systems.

Impact on social security

The agreement on the free movement of persons will also entail the coordination of the different national social security systems. This does not mean, however, that they will be standardised. The structure, form and scope of the benefits provided by each national social security system shall remain the same.

The main points of the agreement are to afford Swiss nationals and citizens of EU member states the same rights, as well as to mitigate or eliminate any negative effect on such a person's insurance cover as a result of moving to a different country for the purposes of employment and/or residence.

What types of social security are covered by the agreement?

The agreement on the free movement of persons applies to the entire social security system (old age, invalidity, surviving dependants, illness, maternity, occupational accidents and diseases, unemployment, and family allowances). However, social welfare is not covered by the agreement.

Who is covered by the agreement?

Swiss nationals and citizens of an EU member state working in an EU member state or in Switzerland, or who move from Switzerland to an EU member state or vice versa.

The EFTA agreement contains the same provisions as the Swiss-EU agreement on the free movement of persons, but applies to citizens from EFTA member states.

Those not gainfully employed and persons who are not Swiss nationals or citizens of an EU member state are not covered by the agreement (unless they are family members or surviving dependants of a Swiss national or citizen of an EU member state). These persons will still be covered by the existing interstate agreements on social security. The compensation fund offices will clarify any questions.

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Last modification: 23.06.2016

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