New Delhi, June 13 Providing a boost to Indians working in Finland, India signed an agreement with the Scandinavian country to extend social security benefits to them, a development that could help enhance trade and investment between the two countries.
The agreement, signed between Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs (MOIA) Joint Secretary Atul Kumar Tiwari and Finnish Ambassador to India Terhi Hakala, was arrived at after successful negotiations completed by both sides recently.
The deal was signed in the presence of Overseas Indians Secretary Parvez Dewan.
“This agreement is important in that there is a lot of scope for bilateral trade between the two nations to grow further,” Hakala said at the event to mark the signing of the agreement.
“This gives a very good signal to businesses and partners that we are serious about good bilateral business relations,” she said, calling for quick implementation of the social security pact.
The Social Security Agreement with Finland envisages that for a short term contract up to five years, no social security contribution would need to be paid under the Finnish law by the detached workers, provided they continue to make social security payments in India.
This benefit would be available even when an Indian company sends its employees to Finland from a third country.
Indian workers will be entitled to the export of the social security benefits if they relocate to India after the completion of their service in Finland.
Even self-employed Indians in Finland would be entitled to export of social security benefit on their relocation to India.
The period of contribution made in one nation will be added to the period of contribution in the other nation for determining the eligibility of social security benefits.
“This is a very good social security agreement and with this, our relations with Finland had further expanded. It is a great effort,” Dewan said, endorsing the ambassador’s views.
The agreement is part of a series of deals that India has signed with Belgium, Germany, Switzerland, France, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Hungary, Denmark, the Czech Republic, South Korea, and Norway.
Under the agreement, India and Finland will enhance cooperation on social security between the two countries, providing to each others’ nationals working in the host nation.
There are around 5,000 Indian professionals and self-employed working in Finland and about 500 Finnish nationals living and working in India at present.
“However, there is a huge potential for Indian workers to take employment in the Republic of Finland owing to the huge labour supply gap in the market,” according to an official from the Overseas Indians ministry.
“As such, a bilateral social security agreement with Finland is a significant requirement from the futuristic point of view to take advantage of the emerging employment opportunities and to strengthen the trade and investment between the two countries,” the official added.