Bilateral social security agreement with Portugal

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

Before you send the employee, apply to us 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 then show the certificate to the Portuguese authorities to be exempted from super payments in Portugal. The certificate can cover a period of up to four years.

When completing the request for a certificate of coverage, you'll need to provide an Australian contact name and their phone, fax and e-mail details.

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

On this page:

About the agreement

Our bilateral social security agreement with Portugal 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 Portuguese social security laws.

The agreement started on 1 October 2002.

For information about:

Effect for different types of employees

Employees working temporarily overseas

If you send your employee to work in Portugal for a period not exceeding four 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 contributions (or equivalent) are required only under the law of the country that your employee is most likely to retire in.


Penny is sent by her Australian employer to work in Portugal for two years. Penny's employer must make contributions in Australia under super guarantee legislation. Penny and her employer must also make social security contributions under relevant Portuguese law.

As double super coverage occurs, the agreement takes effect and exempts Penny and her employer from making contributions under Portuguese law. Penny's employer will continue to make super guarantee contributions as required in Australia.

End of example

This rule also applies where the employee is sent to work for a related company (provided double super coverage occurs).

Government employees working temporarily overseas

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

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

Self-employed people

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

Work on ships and aircraft

If double super coverage occurs for a person working on a ship or aircraft in international traffic, the law of the country in which the person is a resident will apply.


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

Extension beyond four years

Generally, a certificate of coverage will cover Australian employees for up to four years employment in Portugal. If you need coverage for longer than four 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 Portugal.

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/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 initial four-year secondment period.

An extension may also be granted in other special circumstances.

Your request for an extension must be in writing and should include the:

  • employer's name, ABN and contact details
  • employee's name
  • certificate number
  • reason for extension.

Send your request to:

Superannuation – Bilateral agreements
Australian Taxation Office
GPO Box 9977

See also:

    Last modified: 27 Jul 2016QC 16553