TN 18 (05-22)

RS 02002.025 Rule for Government Employees under the U.S. - Australian Agreement

A. Vienna Conventions

The Vienna Conventions on Diplomatic and Consular Relations ("Conventions") provide that, in general, nationals of a country who work abroad in the diplomatic or consular services of their home country are exempt from social security coverage and contributions under the host country's laws, unless that worker specifically waives his or her exemption.

The Conventions, to which both the United States and Australia are parties, apply to:

  • Members of the staff of a diplomatic or consular mission, including the diplomatic, consular, administrative, and technical staffs;

  • Dependents of members of those staffs;

  • The domestic service staffs of those missions; and

  • The private servants employed by members of such missions (under certain conditions).

B. Agreement Provisions

1. General

The Agreement does not affect the coverage of U.S. or Australian Government employees to whom the Vienna Conventions apply. They remain exempt from coverage in the host country.

The Agreement establishes the following rules for U.S. and Australian Government employees for cases when the Vienna Conventions do not apply:

  • U.S. Government employees sent temporarily to work in Australia are subject to U.S. Social Security taxes and coverage laws only;

  • Australian Government employees sent temporarily to work in the U.S. are subject to Australian social security taxes and coverage laws only;

  • There is no specified time limit that defines temporary (i.e., any transfer that is not permanent is temporary); and

  • Spouses who accompany the government worker to the other country are also subject only to the laws of the sending country, but only if they have employment with the Government of the sending country.

EXAMPLE: James is an employee of the U.S. Government but not as a diplomatic or consular employee. He is temporarily transferred to Australia. As a temporarily transferred government employee, he is subject only to U.S. law under the Agreement. He is accompanied by his wife, Mary. After arriving in Australia, Mary accepts employment with the U.S. Embassy in Australia. Under the Agreement, Mary is also subject only to U.S. law.

2. Definitions

a. U.S. Government employee

For purposes of applying this provision of the Agreement, “U.S. Government employees” include employees of the Federal Government or any of its instrumentalities.

b. Australian Government employee

For purposes of applying this provision of the Agreement, “Australian Government employees” include employees of the Australian government, a political subdivision, or local authority of Australia.

C. Reference

RS 01802.050 Coverage Status — Employees of Foreign Governments and International Organizations — Policy Principle

 


To Link to this section - Use this URL:
http://policy.ssa.gov/poms.nsf/lnx/0302002025
RS 02002.025 - Rule for Government Employees under the U.S. - Australian Agreement - 05/09/2022
Batch run: 05/09/2022
Rev:05/09/2022