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  • Bilateral social security agreement with Japan

    If you send an Australian employee to work temporarily in Japan, you must continue to pay superannuation guarantee contributions in Australia for them.

    Before you send the employee, Apply online for a certificate of coverage.

    We'll issue a certificate to you on the basis that you'll continue to make super guarantee contributions in Australia for the employee. You or your employee can then show the certificate to the Japanese authorities to be exempted from super payments in Japan. The certificate can cover a period of up to five years.

    When you receive the certificate, keep a copy for your records and give the original to your employee to take with them to Japan.

    On this page:

    About the agreement

    Our bilateral social security agreement with Japan applies when double super coverage occurs – that is, when you or your employee would otherwise have to make super guarantee contributions (or equivalent) in both countries for the same work by your employee. It applies to Australian super guarantee law and Japanese social security laws.

    For information about:

    The agreement started on 1 January 2009.

    Effect for different types of employee

    Employees working temporarily overseas

    If you send your employee to work in Japan for a period not exceeding five years – for your business or a related entity – and double super coverage occurs, only the super laws of your home country will apply. This means super guarantee contributions (or equivalent) are required only under the law of the country that your employee is most likely to retire in.

    Example

    Kazuhiro is sent by his Australian employer to work in Japan for two years. Kazuhiro's will still be covered by Australia's super guarantee legislation as well as the Japanese laws while working in the Japan – therefore double super coverage occurs. As double super coverage occurs, the agreement takes effect and exempts Kazuhiro and his employer from making contributions under Japanese law. Kazuhiro's employer will continue to make super guarantee contributions as required in Australia.

    End of example

    Government employees working temporarily overseas

    If a government employee is sent to work temporarily in Japan and double super coverage occurs, only the super laws of Australia will apply.

    The secondment period for government employees working in Japan is not subject to the five-year limit.

    Self-employed people

    The agreement doesn't apply to self-employed Australian residents working in Japan. They're not subject to super guarantee law in Australia, so double super coverage doesn't occur.

    Diplomats

    The agreement doesn't affect the treatment of diplomats and consulate officials under the relevant Vienna Conventions on diplomatic and consular relations.

    Extension beyond five years

    Generally, a certificate of coverage will cover Australian employees for up to five years employment in Japan. If you need coverage for longer than five years, you'll need to write to us explaining the reasons for the extension.

    Approval to extend a certificate of coverage is determined on a case-by-case basis. We can grant an extension only with the mutual agreement of the relevant agency in Japan, and only in certain circumstances.

    An extension may be granted when:

    • an individual who was scheduled to replace the worker is unable to do so because of death, serious illness or resignation
    • the worker must remain in the country of secondment due to an unexpected personal situation – this includes medical reasons (self, spouse, children) or if the worker's children are required to stay to complete the school year
    • the worker has been under one country's social security system throughout his or her career and is planning to retire in the immediate future
    • the extension is for a short period
    • the worker returned to the country of origin for a short period during the period of secondment for unexpected personal reasons – this includes medical reasons (self, spouse, children)
    • the extension for work purposes would be in the national interest of either country
    • cessation will cause undue hardship to the employer or employee
    • there has been a reorganisation of a company and the worker maintains an important role in the reorganisation
    • the worker has special skills or background, and the employer makes a strong case for needing the worker to complete a special assignment or project that will be concluded within one to four years after the five-year secondment period.

    An extension may also be granted in other special circumstances.

    You will need to provide a supporting document giving reasons for the extension and include:

    • employer's name, Australian business number and contact details
    • employee's name
    • certificate number.

    You should attach the supporting document when you apply online for an extension to a previously submitted request.

    We recommend you search for the employee name under the View previous request tab in the business or tax agent portal. You will need to edit this application and attach the supporting document. This will generate a new certificate of coverage reference number.

    See also:

      Last modified: 09 Jul 2018QC 21451