Working Abroad

ADVICE NI’S HELPLINES REMAIN OPEN

We will not be providing face-to-face advice or training for the foreseeable future. We will contact existing advice clients by phone. Our staff will continue to support our members and can be reached via telephone and email as usual.

We are working hard to move our training, where possible, to digital. For any queries, please contact our training team at [email protected]

We can only provide advice to people living in Northern Ireland. 

Helpline contact details:

Welfare Changes ring 0808 802 0020 or email [email protected]
Tax & Benefits ring 0800 988 2377 or email [email protected]
Business Debt ring 0800 083 8018 or email [email protected]
Debt Action ring 0800 028 1881 or email [email protected]
EU Settlement Scheme ring 0800 138 6545 or email [email protected]
For Historical Institutional Abuse advice and support call 02890 645919 email [email protected]

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During your working life you accrue rights to receive a State Pension. What happens if we have worked abroad for part of that working life?

European law generally prevents you paying contributions in more than one country at the same time, as you are subject to the social-security laws of only one country at a time. This means that you do not need to pay pension contributions in more than one country for the same period of compulsory social-insurance cover.

If you worked or lived in a European Economic Area (EEA) Country or in any other country with which the UK has a reciprocal social security agreement, the Pension Service will contact that country to find out if the period of employment or residence there will help your contribution record. For details of the relevant countries, visit the website for the Department of Work and Pensions.

If you lived or worked in any other country during your working life, the burden is on you to find out about your pension entitlement. For further advice, contact the International Pension Centre.

Where few or no UK National Insurance Contributions have been made

You may still be entitled to a Basic State Pension. Indeed, any social security contributions that were made in the country where you worked may count in the UK, particularly if the country was an EEA country. Even if the country where a person worked does not have a reciprocal agreement with the UK, you may still be entitled to something.

European law also allows you to have many of the rights and benefits you accrue in one country paid out to you in another. Therefore, you may be entitled to a separate State Pension from the other country or countries in which you lived.

Where UK National Insurance Contributions have been made

Some people employed abroad have to pay UK National Insurance Contributions (NICS). Others may choose to pay them to help qualify for benefits when they get back to this country. Whether they come back or stay abroad, paying NICS will help you qualify for State Pension or bereavement benefits

Useful Contacts from NI Direct

Pension Service

International Pension Centre