Immigrants' pensions, the consequences of the lack of an agreement with Greece

2023-05-26 16:44:00, Opinione Ardi Stefa


Immigrants' pensions, the consequences of the lack of an agreement with
Ardi Stefa

What is being done with the pensions of Albanian immigrants in Greece?

What does our country do to protect the rights of its citizens and, more specifically, the mutual recognition of their social and health insurance contributions.

So, does our state have in mind that Albanian citizens who contribute to Greece do not burn any insurance?

The recognition of pensions with Greece is a matter left to the Greek calendars, ie. in the very distant future, or are talks taking place?

If talks are being held or their first phase has been completed, showing willingness to conclude the deal soon, as claimed: what are the results?

And, in the final analysis, why is there no broad public information about these agreements.

So, the problem is very complex. Despite the progress in the agreement on the recognition of pensions with Greece and the agreement in principle, there are still many points that need to be discussed and resolved, so that the years of work and contributions of Albanian citizens in Greece are not lost.

In April of this year, the leaders of the Social Security of the two countries closed the technical discussions in Tirana, to pave the way for the recognition of the years of work of Albanian immigrants in Greece, as one of the largest communities of the Albanian diaspora.

In September 2022, talks are also held in Athens, and if the agreement is reached quickly, Greece will become the 15th country to cover social security.

The draft law on pensions presented last March in the Greek Parliament foresees the reduction of 30 years of residence to benefit from the national pension from 40 years.

Albanian immigrants have been regular contributors to the Greek social insurance schemes because insurance payments were necessarily linked to obtaining residence permits, their legal stay, employment and the benefit of the rights that flowed from this.

According to the figures, it is estimated that there are over 700,000 Albanians who worked in Greece after the 90s. If the agreement is realized, Albanians will be recognized for the years of social security contributions, thus benefiting from the pension with the common formula.

So far, the Albanian government has negotiated with 14 countries in the field of social security, concluding final agreements with 13 of them.

What changes in granting the national pension for Albanian immigrants?

Until now, the national pension for immigrants from Albania and the countries of the former Soviet Union was conditional on their stay in Greece for 40 years. "However, the residence criterion proves objectively impossible to fulfill the granting of the full measure of the Greek national pension to immigrants who have obtained Greek citizenship, since the borders of their countries of residence were opened in 1990, at best.   

With the proposed provision, which is valid from January 1 of this year and for a 10-year transitional period, which expires in 2032, the requirement is 30 instead of 40 years of residence, so that immigrants get a full national pension. Thereafter, this limit is gradually adjusted each year.

According to the Greek authorities, the pension was calculated in relation to how many years of residence were left of the 40 years that was the main criterion. This time frame has already been reduced due to the fact that the arrival of immigrants in Greece after 1992 and obtaining the legal immigrant card in 1998 could not be conditioned by the 40 years of residence in Greece before 2038.

The representatives of immigrant associations have requested a full national pension where the criterion of years should be reduced to 20 years of legal residence in Greece, and not 30 as defined in the draft law. The Radical Left Party - SYRIZA has requested the payment of the national pension for immigrants from Albania and the countries of the former Soviet Union who have 15 years of permanent residence.

Currently, the Greek government predicts that 30 years of residence will be required for immigrants from Albania and the countries of the former Soviet Union in order for the latter to receive a full pension.

Another parameter, which should be taken into account by the Albanian state.

Currently, there is another category of Albanian citizens, who seem to have been left out of the agreement, or are not mentioned.

They are former immigrants who once worked in Greece and for one reason or another decided to return to their country, Albania.

Is this category included in the talks on pensions, even partial from Greece? Or will they be denied these years of work, thousands of euros of contributions to the insurance system of the Greek state.

To my knowledge, these ex-immigrants must have 15 years of work in Albania for the minimum pension and 15 full years of work, or 4,500 ensima (insured working days).

For those with less than 15 years of insured work, what happens? Lose all those contributions?

It is true that this category could also benefit from the years of work in Greece for pension if they had gone to live and work legally in EU countries or even if Albania was a member of the EU, but Albania is still far away, while those who are waiting for the pension to live with dignity are many and they are running out of time, they do not have their lives ahead of them.

Is it not a sin that this category is not included in the talks? I mean benefit from a pension, or a monthly amount due to the contributions made when they reach retirement age?

And, after all, both states have a moral, human and economic obligation to this category.

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