Working Paper No. 60
Coordination of Social Security Schemes. The Case of SADC
This paper will explore whether and to what extent the (legal) rules of coordination that originated and developed in the EU can be transposed to SADC – a region characterized by high levels of migration, weakly developed social security systems and the absence of suitable portability arrangements. The principle of coordination of social security is primarily aimed at eliminating restrictions that national social security schemes place upon the rights of migrant workers to such social security. One of the fundamental principles of social security coordination is that of portability, which is the ability to preserve, maintain, and transfer vested social security rights or rights in the process of being vested, independent of nationality and country of residence. The best practice around the world to ensure portability of social security entitlements consists of multilateral and bilateral social security agreements. These agreements originated and developed in the EU, and EU coordination arrangements arguably still represent the most sophisticated and developed system of its kind, and one that is worth emulating. In this paper, it is argued that any future attempts at coordinating social security schemes in SADC should start with employment injury schemes, which is the only social security scheme common to all SADC member states. The paper considers some of the issues that should be taken into account in designing social security agreements in SADC along the lines of the EU model.