New social security agreements between Italy-Albania and Italy-Japan: updates 

26 February 2024

The international mobility of workers within Europe is regulated by EU regulations no. 883/2004 and 987/2009. Outside the scope of application of these regulations, bilateral social security agreements entered into by Italy with other States, if any, apply.  

These agreements regulate important aspects of the international mobility of workers from the point of view of social security legislation, such as the payment of social security contributions and the social security and welfare benefits to which workers themselves are entitled.  

In the absence of a bilateral agreement of this type, the worker abroad remains exposed to the double payment of contributions – with the related impact also on his/her Italian employer, if any – as well as to uncertainty about the social security and welfare benefits obtainable in the foreign country and to the impossibility of claiming periods of work abroad for pension purposes in Italy. 

In terms of bilateral agreements on social security, 2024 has already brought substantial changes with respect to countries that have significant economic relations with Italy, namely Albania and Japan. 

The Social Security Agreement between Italy and Albania  

On 6 February 2024, the Social Security Agreement between Italy and Albania was signed, which will regulate pension benefits and unemployment, sickness and maternity benefits for those who have been employed or self-employed in the two countries. 

Following the signing of this agreement, the Italian National Social Security Entity (Istituto nazionale della previdenza sociale, ‘INPS’) together with the Ministry of Labour and Social Policy will start negotiations to conclude a bilateral administrative agreement, to implement the agreement that has been reached.  

The agreement does not cover health, occupational disease and accident benefits nor non-contributory benefits.  

In a press release the governments of the two countries also expressed their willingness to strengthen cooperation in the economic field and to protect social security for their citizens.  

The Social Security Agreement between Italy and Japan 

In a statement published on 16 January 2024, the Italian Ministry of Labour and Social Policy shared the news that from 1 April 2024 the Social Security Agreement between Italy and Japan, signed on 6 February 2009 and ratified by Italian Law no. 97/2015, will come into force. 

The main change that will be brought about by the entry into force of this agreement is that it will allow the workers of the two posting States to avoid the burden of double contributions for a maximum period of five years. In particular, Article 7 of Annex 1 of Italian Law no. 97/2015, which regulates international postings, establishes that “if a person subject to the legislation of a contracting State, who works in the contracting State for an employer established in that State, is sent by that employer from that State to work in another contracting State, then such person is subject only to the legislation of the first contracting State as if he or she were employed in the first contracting State, provided that the period of posting does not exceed five years”. 

The agreement also regulates the right to the portability of pension benefits for nationals of the two States and their family members, the principle of equal treatment and the principle of lex loci laboris (i.e. a person employed in a contracting State is subject to the legislation of that State), by providing for the relevant derogations.  

At the time of the signing of the agreement, Japan was the only G8 and G20 country with which Italy had not yet finalised the position on social legislation and applicable legislation. 

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