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Free movement of workers and social security


Lisatud 27.10.2013 | Uuendatud 01.11.2013

Since 01.05.2010 Regulation (EC) no 883/2004 of the European Parliament and of the Council and the implementing Regulation (EC) no 987/2009 are applicable for all European Union member states, their citizens, non-citizens and refugees, as well as nationals of non-EU countries, legally residing in the territory of the EU, who have moved between these countries, and their family members. From 01.04.2012 these regulations also apply to Switzerland and from 01.06.2012 to Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein.

In 01.01.2011 Regulation (EC) no 1231/2010 of the European Parliament and of the Council extending Regulation (EC) No 883/2004 and Regulation (EC) No 987/2009 to nationals of third countries legally residing in the territory of the EU came into force.

In terms of supporting free movement of employed persons and their families it is important that the persons would not lose their social security when entering employment or looking for work in another country. In order to avoid loss of social security the employed persons and their families moving within the Community have been ensured:

  • equal treatment: the person having moved from one country to another is entitled to equal treatment with the person who has permanently lived and worked in one country. It means that granting of benefits should not be affected by citizenship
  • aggregation of insurance periods: when applying for benefits the completed periods of insurance, working or living in another country are taken into consideration
  • preservation of rights: the benefits a person is entitled to are also paid in case the person goes to live, work or look for work in another member country. 

Unemployment insurance

Employed persons in member countries are obliged to pay unemployment insurance premiums according to the legal acts of the country of employment and in case of unemployment they are entitled to receive unemployment insurance benefit similarly to the nationals of the country. When applying for the benefit the unemployment insurance period completed in all member countries is taken into consideration. An unemployed person receiving unemployment insurance benefit can move to another EU country to look for work for a period of 3 months (in exceptional cases up to 6 months) without losing the right to receive the unemployment insurance benefit. You have to apply for the required U2 form from the Unemployment Insurance Fund before leaving for a foreign country (when going to look for work in Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein you will be issued a E303 certificate as these countries still take the EU Council Regulation (EEC) 1408/71 and the implementing Regulation (EEC) 574/72 as a basis in case of export of the unemployment insurance benefit).

Information about social security and unemployment insurance benefit schemes is available in the MISSOC database.

Useful information is available on the European Commission website.

Did you know ...

Member countries of the European Union are Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden. 


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