Social security agreements

Your entitlement to social security coverage can be based on social security agreements. Finland has concluded such agreements with the Nordic countries, the United States, Canada, Chile, Israel, Australia, India, China and South Korea. Further, Finland has made a separate arrangement concerning social security with the Province of Quebec in Canada. With Australia, Finland also has an agreement covering medical treatment during a temporary stay in the other country.

The agreements usually concern employees, their family members and pensioners. Pensions accrued in Finland can always be paid to countries that have a social security agreement with Finland. The provisions of the agreements are applied exclusively to the persons and benefits expressly covered by them. If your right to social security coverage is not determined through a social security agreement that Finland has concluded with another country, the right to social security coverage and those Kela benefits that are not included in the scope of the agreement is determined on the basis of Finnish legislation.

If you live or work in a country that has a social security agreement with Finland, you may be entitled to the benefits mentioned in the agreement from the country in question.

Each social security agreement covers specified benefits

  • The Social Security Agreement with the United States covers national pensions and survivors' pensions as well as — for employees on a temporary assignment in the other country — health insurance, parental allowances and child benefits.
  • The Social Security Agreement with Canada covers old-age pensions and survivors' pensions.
  • The Social Security Agreement with Chile covers old-age pensions, survivors' pensions and medical treatment (for pensioners).
  • The Social Security Agreement with Israel covers old-age pensions, survivors' pensions, child benefits and maternity grants. With respect to posted workers, it also covers health insurance and parental benefits.
  • The social security arrangement with the Province of Quebec covers medical care and health insurance. According to the agreement, temporarily employed persons, posted workers, students and researchers as well as their family members are entitled to medical treatment in Quebec.
  • The social security agreement with Australia covers old-age pensions.
  • Temporary residents of Australia who are covered by Finnish National Health Insurance are entitled to necessary emergency medical treatment.
  • The agreement with India covers mainly earnings-related pensions. It does not cover national pensions or any other benefits provided by Kela.
  • The agreements with China and South Korea cover earnings-related pensions and unemployment insurance contributions. They do not cover national pensions or any other benefits provided by Kela.

Nordic Convention on Social Security

Persons who move between the Nordic countries are, as a rule, covered by the provisions of the EC Regulation on social security. Under the Nordic Convention on Social Security, the EC Regulation is also applied to certain categories of persons who would not otherwise be covered by the Regulation. Examples of such categories include citizens of countries outside the EU who move between Denmark and the other Nordic countries.

The Nordic Convention includes, for instance, a five-year rule on the right of returning migrants from another Nordic country to unemployment benefits. According to this rule, the employment history in another Nordic country of a person who returns to Finland from another Nordic country can be taken into account directly as counting towards the condition concerning previous employment for the Finnish unemployment allowance. However, one precondition is that the person has worked in Finland or received unemployment allowance from Finland in the previous five years.

Under the Convention, extra costs for the return journey home from another Nordic country in cases of illness are reimbursed.

The Nordic Convention also includes more detailed rules on the determination of country of residence in unclear cases.

Nordic cooperation on vocational rehabilitation

The Nordic Convention on Social security obliges the Nordic countries to cooperate in matters related to vocational rehabilitation in cross-border situations. The Nordic countries have concluded bilateral administrative agreements on rehabilitation and related practices. The agreements make it easier to handle rehabilitation cases when a person has used the right to free movement and works in one Nordic country and lives in another. Finland has concluded an agreement with Sweden (pdf), Norway (pdf), Iceland (pdf) and Denmark (pdf).

The bilateral rehabilitation agreements are applied when:

  • a person works in one Nordic country and lives in another
  • the rehabilitation is provided in the country of residence and the cash benefit is paid from the country of employment.

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