Social security and insurance

Switzerland has concluded international social security agreements with 44 countries, aimed primarily at ensuring equal treatment for citizens, determining which legislation is applicable, and paying benefits abroad. Switzerland and Argentina have not signed a social security agreement.It is important for anyone emigrating to Argentina to find out about pensions, health and accident insurance, occupational benefits, old age and survivors' insurance (OASI), invalidity insurance (IV), and unemployment insurance.

Retirement benefits

Employees are entitled to an old-age pension after 30 years of work. Men must have reached the age of 65 and women the age of 60. During their employment they contribute to the old-age pension scheme and to the pensioners' health insurance fund (PAMI). The entitlement to a pension applies to all gainfully employed persons in a formal employment relationship. Current information on pensions can be found on the website of the Argentine government. 

Health and accident insurance

Employers are obliged to provide their employees with health and accident insurance (Obra Social Nacional). As the state health insurance offers minimal coverage, it is strongly recommended to take out private health insurance.

Keep your health insurance in Switzerland as long as possible. Before starting work, check whether your existing insurance offers sufficient cover for illness abroad. It is often advisable to take out international health insurance for the duration of your stay abroad. In any case, you should first find out under what conditions your employer will insure you in the host country. Wait until you receive unconditional acceptance from the international insurer before cancelling an existing supplementary insurance policy for Switzerland

Occupational pension scheme

Employees who suffer an occupational accident must immediately declare it in writing to the employer in accordance with the law on occupational hazards. In case of disability, the occupational risk insurance (Aseguradora de Riesgos del Trabajo) assesses the degree of disability. The compensation sum is calculated on the basis of this assessment. 

Unemployment insurance

Unemployment insurance benefits guarantee employees a minimum standard of social security. In order to receive Argentine unemployment insurance benefits, foreign workers must have paid contributions for at least six months in the three years prior to losing their job. In addition, they must possess an Argentine identity card (DNI: identity card for citizens and/or persons with permanent residence). Workers who have been dismissed without just cause or owing to force majeure and who have a minimum credit balance from employer contributions to the social security system are entitled to unemployment benefits, which are paid monthly, and to healthcare cover. 

Swiss old-age and survivors' insurance (OASI) and invalidity insurance (IV)

Payment of ordinary pensions

Ordinary OASI and IV pension payments (except quarter pensions under the IV scheme) for Swiss nationals can be transferred to their place of residence anywhere in the world. The pension is paid out directly by the Swiss compensation office, generally in the currency of the country of residence. You may also choose to have your benefits paid into a personal postal or bank account in Switzerland. Helplessness allowances and supplementary benefits are only paid if you are resident in Switzerland.

Voluntary OASI/IV

Swiss nationals who do not live in an EU/EFTA member state may join the voluntary OASI/IV scheme if they had compulsory insurance cover for at least five consecutive years immediately prior to their departure. Enrolment in the Swiss voluntary OASI/IV system does not exempt you from enrolling in a compulsory insurance system in your country of residence or employment. Employed persons contribute 10.1% of their salary to the pension fund. The minimum annual contribution is CHF 950. The voluntary OASI/IV system offers protection against the risks of old age, disability and death, in particular to persons who are not gainfully employed and who in many cases are not entitled to join a foreign social security scheme.

Special provisions for people employed by a Swiss company

Special provisions apply to persons who live abroad and are employed and on the payroll of an employer based in Switzerland and to their accompanying spouses abroad provided they are not gainfully employed. For further information, please contact your OASI office.

OASI pensioners (1st pillar) and pension fund beneficiaries (2nd pillar)

Make sure that pension payments from your old-age and survivors' insurance (OASI), your pension fund or other insurance policies you have taken out are being properly transferred to you. Whenever you change your address, you must inform the OASI compensation office, your pension fund and insurance provider. The Swiss Compensation Office (SCO) sends all persons who are receiving benefits a certificate of life and marital status form each year. To ensure uninterrupted payment of your pension, please return the form to the SCO within 90 days, duly endorsed by your local authority, or any other officially recognised administration.

Taxation of pension fund income

Switzerland imposes a withholding tax on pension fund income if the beneficiary resides abroad. Double taxation agreements sometimes allow the withholding tax to be waived or to be reclaimed by the pension recipient in their country of residence.

Social assistance for Swiss citizens abroad

In certain circumstances, the FDFA's Social Assistance Service for the Swiss Abroad (SAS) provides social assistance to Swiss nationals living abroad who have run into financial difficulty. If you find yourself in financial distress, you must first make every effort to manage with your own resources. If you really cannot manage on your own, you should try to get financial help from your family or from friends or acquaintances. You should also find out what social assistance or other support you can receive from the authorities in your country of residence. Support from the SAS should be a measure of last resort.


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