Agreement between the Government of Australia and the Government of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia on Social Security

 


The Government of Australia and the Government of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, hereinafter 'the Contracting Parties',

Wishing to strengthen the existing friendly relations between the two countries,

and

Being desirous of regulating the relationship between their two countries with respect to social security benefits and coverage,

Have agreed to conclude the following Agreement:

Part I

General Provisions

Article 1

Definitions

  1. In this Agreement, unless the context otherwise requires:
    • (1) 'benefit' means a benefit, pension or allowance that is payable under the legislation of a Contracting Party and includes any additional amount, increase or supplement that is payable but, for Australia, does not include any benefit, payment or entitlement under the law concerning the superannuation guarantee;
       
    • (2) 'Competent Authority' means:

      in relation to Australia, the Secretary of the Australian Government Department responsible for the legislation specified in Article 2.1.1.1, except in Part II of the Agreement, and other Parts of the Agreement as they affect that Part, where it means the Commissioner of Taxation or an authorised representative of the Commissioner; and

      in relation to the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, the Ministry of Labour and Social Policy;
       
    • (3) 'Competent Institution' means:

      in relation to Australia, the institution or agency which has the task of implementing the applicable legislation; and

      in relation to the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, the Pension and Disability Insurance Fund;
       
    • (4) 'insurance periods' means, in relation to the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, periods for which contributions are paid and periods related to such contributions;
       
    • (5) 'legislation' means:

      in relation to Australia, the laws specified in Article 2.1.1.1, except in Part II of the Agreement, and other Parts of the Agreement as they affect that Part, where it means the laws specified in Article 2.1.1.2; and

      in relation to the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, the legislation specified in Article 2.1.2;
       
    • (6) 'period of Australian working life residence' means a period defined as such in the legislation of Australia but does not include any period deemed pursuant to Article 11 to be a period in which that person was an Australian resident.
       
  2. Unless the context otherwise requires, any term not defined in this Agreement shall have the meaning assigned to it in the applicable legislation.

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Article 2

Legislation

  1. Subject to paragraph 2 and 3 of this Article, this Agreement shall apply to the following laws, as amended at the date of signature of this Agreement, and to any laws that subsequently amend, consolidate, supplement or replace them:
    • 1.1 in relation to Australia:
      • 1.1.1 the Acts forming the social security law in so far as the law provides for, applies to or affects the age pension;
      • 1.1.2 the law concerning the superannuation guarantee (which at the time of signature of this Agreement is contained in the Superannuation Guarantee (Administration) Act 1992, the Superannuation Guarantee Charge Act 1992 and the Superannuation Guarantee (Administration) Regulations);
    • 1.2 in relation to the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, the Law on Pension and Disability Insurance regarding:
      • 1.2.1 old age pension;
      • 1.2.2 disability pension;
      • 1.2.3 survivor pension (widows, widowers, children and other members of the family who have rights to benefits) and other pension and disability insurance benefits of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.
  2. Unless otherwise provided in this Agreement, the legislation referred to in this Article shall not include treaties on social security entered into by either Contracting Party with a third State.
     
  3. This Agreement shall apply to future legislation which extends the existing legislation of either Contracting Party to new categories of beneficiaries only if the Competent Authorities so agree in writing.

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Article 3

Personal Scope

This Agreement shall apply to any person who is or has been an Australian resident, or is or has been subject to the legislation of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and, where applicable, to other persons in regard to the rights they derive from a person described above.

Article 4

Equality of Treatment

Unless otherwise provided in this Agreement, all persons to whom this Agreement applies shall be treated equally by a Contracting Party in regard to rights and obligations regarding eligibility for and payment of benefits which arise whether directly under the legislation of that Contracting Party or by virtue of this Agreement.

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Part II

Provisions Concerning the Applicable Legislation

Article 5

Purpose of this Part

The purpose of this Part is to ensure that employers and employees who are subject to the legislation of Australia or the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia do not have a double liability under the legislation of Australia and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, in respect of the same work of an employee and the remuneration paid for the work.

Article 6

Application of this Part

This Part only applies if an employee and/or their employer would, apart from this Part, be subject to the legislation of both Contracting Parties in respect of work of the employee and remuneration paid for the work.

Article 7

Diplomatic and Consular Relations

This Agreement shall not affect the provisions of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations of 18 April 1961, or the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations of 24 April 1963.

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Article 8

Avoidance of Double Coverage

  1. Unless otherwise provided in this Part, if an employee works in the territory of one Contracting Party, the employee and their employer shall in respect of the work and the remuneration paid for the work be subject only to the legislation of that Contracting Party.
     
  2. If an employee:
    • 2.1 is covered by the legislation of one Contracting Party ('the first Contracting Party'); and
    • 2.2 was sent, whether before, on or after the commencement of this Agreement, by the Government of the first Contracting Party to work in the territory of the other Contracting Party ('the second Contracting Party'); and
    • 2.3 is working in the territory of the second Contracting Party in the employment of the Government of the first Contracting Party; and
    • 2.4 is not working permanently in the territory of the second Contracting Party;

    the employee and their employer shall be subject only to the legislation of the first Contracting Party in respect of the work and the remuneration paid for the work. For the purposes of this paragraph, 'Government' includes, in relation to Australia, a State or Territory Government or local authority of Australia.
     
  3. If an employee:
    • 3.1 is covered by the legislation of one Contracting Party ('the first Contracting Party'); and
    • 3.2 was sent, whether before, on or after the commencement of this Agreement, by an employer who is subject to the legislation of the first Contracting Party to work in the territory of the other Contracting Party ('the second Contracting Party'); and
    • 3.3 is working in the territory of the second Contracting Party in the employment of the employer or a related entity of that employer; and
    • 3.4 a period of 4 years from the time the employee was sent to work in the territory of the second Contracting Party has not elapsed; and
    • 3.5 the employee is not working permanently in the territory of the second Contracting Party;

    the employee and their employer shall be subject only to the legislation of the first Contracting Party in respect of the work and the remuneration paid for the work.

  4. For the purposes of subparagraph 3.3 of this Article an entity is a related entity of an employer if the entity and the employer are members of the same wholly or majority owned group.
     
  5. If an employee is working in the employment of an employer on a ship or aircraft in international traffic, the employee and their employer shall in respect of the work and the remuneration paid for the work be subject only to the legislation of the Contracting Party of which the employee is a resident.

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Article 9

Exception agreements

  1. The Competent Authorities of the Contracting Parties may for the purposes of this Part agree:
    • 1.1 to extend the period of 4 years referred to in subparagraph 3.4 of Article 8 for any employee; or
    • 1.2 that an employee working in the territory of a particular Contracting Party or working on a ship or aircraft in international traffic under the legislation of a particular Contracting Party is subject only to the legislation of that Contracting Party.
  2. Any agreement made under paragraph 1 of this Article may apply to:
    • 2.1 a class of employees; and/or
    • 2.2 particular work or particular types of work (including work that has not occurred at the time the agreement is made).

Part III

Provisions Relating To Australian Benefits

Article 10

Residence or Presence in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia

Where a person would be qualified under the legislation of Australia or by virtue of this Agreement for an Australian benefit except for not being an Australian resident and in Australia on the date on which the claim for that benefit is lodged, but:

  • (1) is an Australian resident or a resident of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia; and
  • (2) is in Australia, or the territory of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia,

that person, so long as he or she has been an Australian resident at some time, shall be deemed, for the purpose of lodging that claim, to be an Australian resident and in Australia on that date.

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Article 11

Combining qualifying periods for Australian benefits

  1. Where a person to whom this Agreement applies has claimed an Australian benefit under this Agreement and has accumulated:
    • 1.1 a period as an Australian resident that is less than the period required to qualify that person, on that ground, under the legislation of Australia for that benefit; and
    • 1.2 a period of Australian working life residence equal to or greater than the period specified in paragraph 4 of this Article for that person; and
    • 1.3 an insurance period under the legislation of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia;

    then, for the purposes of a claim for that Australian benefit, that insurance period under the legislation of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia shall be deemed to be a period in which that person was an Australian resident, only for the purposes of meeting any minimum qualifying periods for that benefit set out in the legislation of Australia.

  2. For the purposes of paragraph 1 of this Article, where a person:
    • 2.1 has been an Australian resident for a continuous period which is less than the minimum continuous period required by the legislation of Australia for entitlement of that person to a benefit; and
    • 2.2 has accumulated two or more separate insurance periods that equal or exceed in total the minimum period referred to in subparagraph 2.1 of this Article;

    the total of the insurance periods shall be deemed to be one continuous insurance period.

  3. For the purposes of this Article, where a period by a person as an Australian resident and an insurance period under the legislation of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia coincide, the period of coincidence shall be taken into account once only by Australia as a period as an Australian resident.
     
  4. The minimum period of Australian working life residence to be taken into account for the purposes of paragraph 1 of this Article shall be:
    • 4.1 for the purposes of an Australian benefit that is payable to a person who is not an Australian resident, the minimum period required shall be 12 months, of which at least six months must be continuous; and
    • 4.2 for the purposes of an Australian benefit that is payable to an Australian resident, no minimum period.
  5. For the purpose of this Article, an insurance period under the legislation of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia shall be deemed as a period as an Australian resident only if that insurance period is certified by the Competent Institution of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.

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Article 12

Calculation of Australian Benefits

  1. Subject to paragraphs 2, 3 and 4 of this Article, where an Australian benefit is payable whether by virtue of this Agreement or otherwise to a person outside Australia, the amount of the benefit shall be determined according to the legislation of Australia but on the basis that the additional child amount rate is nil.
     
  2. Subject to paragraphs 3 and 4 of this Article, where an Australian benefit is payable to a person outside Australia only by virtue of this Agreement, and the person had ceased to be an Australian resident on the date of entry into force of this Agreement, the rate of that benefit shall be determined by:
    • 2.1 calculating that person's income according to the legislation of Australia, including any benefit payable under the legislation of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia which that person or the partner of that person is entitled to receive, if applicable;
       
    • 2.2 applying to the maximum rate of Australian benefit the relevant rate calculator set out in the legislation of Australia, using as the person's income the amount calculated under subparagraph 2.1 of this Article; and
       
    • 2.3 proportionalising, if applicable, the amount of benefit calculated under subparagraph 2.2 of this Article by multiplying that amount by the person's period of Australian working life residence (up to a maximum of 528 months) over a denominator of 528 months (44 years).
  3. Where the rate of an Australian benefit is determined according to paragraph 2 of this Article and the person again becomes an Australian resident, the rate of benefit shall continue to be determined according to paragraph 2 of this Article, subject to paragraph 6 of this Article where applicable, if the person subsequently leaves Australia within two years of the date the person again became an Australian resident.
     
  4. Where a person comes temporarily to Australia, paragraphs 1 and 2 of this Article shall continue to apply for 26 weeks from the date of their arrival in Australia.
     
  5. Subject to paragraph 6 of this Article, where an Australian benefit is payable only by virtue of this Agreement to a person who is in Australia, the rate of that benefit shall be determined by:
    • 5.1 calculating that person's income according to the legislation of Australia but disregarding in that calculation any benefit under the legislation of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia which that person or the partner of that person is entitled to receive if applicable; and
       
    • 5.2 deducting the amount of the benefit under the legislation of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia which that person is entitled to receive from the maximum rate of that Australian benefit; and
       
    • 5.3 applying to the remaining benefit obtained under subparagraph 5.2 of this Article the relevant rate calculation set out in the legislation of Australia, using as the person's income the amount calculated under subparagraph 5.1.
  6. Where a person departs temporarily from Australia, paragraph 5 of this Article shall continue to apply for 26 weeks from the date of their departure from Australia.
     
  7. Where a member of a couple is, or both that person and his or her partner are, entitled to a benefit or benefits under the legislation of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia each of them shall be deemed, for the purposes of this Article and of the legislation of Australia, to be in receipt of one half of either the amount of that benefit or the total of both of those benefits, as the case may be.

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Part IV

Provisions Relating to Benefits of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia

Article 13

Calculation of periods for benefits of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia

  1. If a person does not meet the benefit requirements due to the insurance periods provided according to the legislation of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, the entitlement to pensions shall be determined by adding insurance periods and periods of Australian working life residence, unless such periods overlap.
     
  2. If a person meets the pension requirements without adding periods according to the legislation of both Contracting Parties, the Competent Institution of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia shall recognise the entitlement to a pension according to their legislation.
     
  3. Entitlements to pension shall not be recognised on the basis of periods shorter than 12 months in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, unless entitlement to such benefits exists solely on the basis of the given periods.
     
  4. If after applying paragraph 1 of this Article, a person is not entitled to a benefit, the Competent Institution of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia shall also take into account periods of insurance or residence completed by its citizens in a third country that has concluded an agreement on social security with the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, which includes provision to combine insurance periods.
     

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Article 14

Determination of Benefits for the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia

  1. For a person who meets the requirements for benefits under the legislation of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia solely under the provisions of paragraph 2 of Article 13, the Competent Institution of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia in charge shall define the benefit amount under the legislation of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.
     
  2. If according to the legislation of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia the entitlement to benefits arises solely under the provisions of paragraph 1 of Article 13, the Competent Institution of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia shall provide such benefits as follows:
    • 2.1 a theoretical amount of the benefit shall be established, to which the person would be entitled as if the total accumulated periods (insurance periods and periods of Australian working life residence) were fulfilled under the legislation of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia;
       
    • 2.2 on the basis of this theoretical amount, the actual amount shall be established according to the periods of insurance as a proportion of the total accumulated periods;
       
    • 2.3 if the total accumulated periods exceed the maximum period provided under the legislation of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, only that maximum period shall be taken into account.

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Part V

Common Provisions for Benefits

Article 15

Payment of Benefits Abroad

  1. Benefits of one Contracting Party, when payable by virtue of this Agreement, or under the legislation of either Contracting Party, shall be payable to persons who are residents of, or in, the territory of either Contracting Party.
     
  2. The Competent Institutions of each Contracting Party shall pay benefits by virtue of this Agreement directly to entitled persons residing in the territory of the other Contracting Party in the official currency of that country, or in another convertible currency.
     
  3. In relation to Australia, any additional amount, increase or supplement that is payable in addition to a benefit under this Agreement, shall be payable to a person outside Australia only for the period specified in the Social Security Act 1991. The reference to the Social Security Act 1991 includes any laws that subsequently amend, supplement or replace that Act.
     
  4. In relation to the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, the provisions of this Article shall not apply to the guaranteed minimum pension.

Article 16

Medical Examinations

  1. The Competent Institution of a Contracting Party will apply its own legislation to determine capacity for work, or capacity for independent life and work, when this is required to determine a right to benefit or for extending the payment of the benefit.
     
  2. To assist the determination of working capacity according to paragraph 1 of this Article the Competent Institution of the Contracting Party where the person is resident will, on the request of the Competent Institution of the other Contracting Party, send to that Contracting Party, without charge, all relevant medical reports and documentation that are available.

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Part VI

Miscellaneous and Administrative Provisions

Article 17

Lodgement of Documents

  1. A claim, notice or appeal concerning a benefit, whether payable by virtue of this Agreement or otherwise, may be lodged in the territory of either Contracting Party in accordance with the Administrative Arrangement made pursuant to Article 21 of this Agreement.
     
  2. The date on which a claim, notice or appeal referred to in paragraph 1 of this Article is lodged with the Competent Institution of one Contracting Party shall be considered as the date of lodgement of that document with the Competent Institution of the other Contracting Party. The Competent Institution with which a claim, notice or appeal is lodged shall refer it without delay to the Competent Institution of the other Contracting Party.
     
  3. A claim for a benefit from one Contracting Party shall be considered as a claim for the corresponding benefit from the other Contracting Party so long as the claimant has indicated in that claim that there is, or there was, an affiliation with the social security system of that other Contracting Party and provided that other Contracting Party receives this request within 12 months of the lodgement of the original claim.
     
  4. The reference in paragraph 1 of this Article to an appeal is a reference to an appeal that may be made to an administrative body established by, or administratively for the purposes of, the respective legislation.

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Article 18

Payment of Benefits

  1. If a Contracting Party imposes legal or administrative restrictions on the transfer of currency outside of its territory, that Contracting Party shall implement measures as soon as practicable to guarantee the rights to payment and delivery of benefits payable under the legislation of that Contracting Party or by virtue of this Agreement. The measures shall operate retrospectively to the time when the restrictions were imposed.
     
  2. A benefit payable by a Contracting Party by virtue of this Agreement shall be paid by that Contracting Party without deduction for government administrative fees and charges.
     
  3. Any exemption granted in the territory of one of the Contracting Parties from stamp duty, notarial or registration fees in respect of certificates and documents required to be submitted to the Competent Authorities and Competent Institutions in the same territory, shall also apply to certificates and documents which, for the purposes of this Agreement, need to be submitted to the other Contracting Party. Documents and certificates required to be produced for the purpose of this Agreement shall be exempt from authentication by diplomatic and consular authorities.

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Article 19

Recovery of overpayments

  1. Where:
    • 1.1 arrears of a benefit are paid or payable by a Contracting Party (the first Contracting Party); and
    • 1.2 for all or part of that period, the other Contracting Party (the second Contracting Party) has paid a benefit to that person; and
    • 1.3 the amount of benefit paid by the second Contracting Party would have been reduced had the benefit payable by the first Contracting Party been paid periodically during that past period; then
    • 1.4 the amount that would not have been paid by the second Contracting Party shall be a debt due by that person to the other Contracting Party.
  2. Where the Competent Institution of the first Contracting Party has not yet paid the arrears described in subparagraph 1.1 to the person, that Contracting Party shall, at the request of the second Contracting Party, pay the amount of the debt described in subparagraph 1.4 to the second Contracting Party and shall pay the remainder to the person.
     
  3. A reference in paragraphs 1 and 2 of this Article to a benefit, in relation to Australia, means a pension, benefit or allowance that is payable under the Acts forming the social security law of Australia as amended from time to time, and in relation to the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia a pension that is payable according to the Law on Pension and Disability Insurance.

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Article 20

Exchange of Information and Mutual Assistance

  1. The Competent Authorities and Competent Institutions responsible for the application of this Agreement shall, to the extent permitted by their national laws:
    • 1.1 communicate to each other any information necessary for the application of this Agreement or the social security law of Australia or the legislation of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia;
       
    • 1.2 provide assistance to each other, including the communication of any necessary information, with regard to the determination or payment of any benefit under this Agreement as if the matter involved the application of their own legislation;
       
    • 1.3 communicate to each other, as soon as possible, all information about the measures taken by them for the application of this Agreement or about changes in their respective legislation in so far as these changes affect the application of this Agreement; and
       
    • 1.4 at the request of one to the other, assist each other in relation to the implementation of agreements on social security entered into by either Contracting Party with third States, to the extent and in the circumstances specified in the Administrative Arrangement pursuant to Article 21.
       
  2. The assistance referred to in paragraph 1 of this Article shall be provided free of charge, unless otherwise provided for in the Administrative Arrangement pursuant to Article 21.
     
  3. Unless otherwise provided under the national laws of a Contracting Party, any information about a person which is transmitted in accordance with this Agreement by one Contracting Party to the other Contracting Party is confidential and shall be used only for the purposes of implementing this Agreement and the legislation to which this Agreement applies.
     
  4. In no case shall the provisions of paragraph 1 of this Article be construed so as to impose on a Contracting Party the obligation to:
    • 4.1 carry out administrative measures at variance with the laws or the administrative practice of either Contracting Party; or
    • 4.2 supply information which is not ordinarily obtainable under the laws or in the usual administrative practice of either Contracting Party.
  5. In the application of this Agreement, the Competent Authority and the Competent Institution of a Contracting Party may communicate with the other in any of the official languages of the Contracting Parties.
     
  6. A claim, appeal or other document may not be rejected by a Competent Authority or Competent Institution solely because it is in the language of the other Contracting Party.

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Article 21

Administrative Arrangement

  1. The Competent Authorities of the Contracting Parties shall conclude an Administrative Arrangement for the implementation of this Agreement.
     
  2. The liaison bodies shall be nominated in the Administrative Arrangement.

Article 22

Resolution of Disputes

  1. The Competent Authorities of the Contracting Parties shall seek to resolve any difficulties which arise in interpreting or applying this Agreement according to its spirit and fundamental principles.
     
  2. The Contracting Parties shall consult promptly at the request of either Contracting Party concerning matters which have not been resolved by the Competent Authorities in accordance with paragraph 1 of this Article.

Article 23

Review of Agreement

Where a Contracting Party requests the other to meet to review this Agreement, the Contracting Parties shall meet for that purpose as soon as possible after that request was made and, unless the Contracting Parties otherwise agree, their meeting shall be held in the territory of the Contracting Party to which that request was made.

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Part VII

Transitional and Final Provisions

Article 24

Transitional Provisions

  1. This Agreement shall not establish any right to a benefit for any period before the date of entry into force of this Agreement.
     
  2. In determining entitlement to a benefit under this Agreement, periods as an Australian resident, periods of Australian working life residence and insurance periods under the legislation of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia completed before the date of entry into force of this Agreement shall also be taken into consideration.
     
  3. Paragraphs 2 and 3 of Article 8 apply from the date of entry into force of this Agreement, even if the person was sent by his or her employer before that date. For this purpose, the period of secondment is taken to start on the date of entry into force of this Agreement.

Article 25

Entry into Force, Modification and Termination

  1. This Agreement shall enter into force on the first day of the second month following the month in which notes are exchanged by the Contracting Parties through the diplomatic channel notifying each other that all internal constitutional and legislative conditions that are necessary for the entry into force of this Agreement have been fulfilled.
     
  2. This Agreement shall be concluded for an indefinite period and can be modified by agreement in writing between the Contracting Parties.
     
  3. Either Contracting Party can terminate this Agreement by written notice submitted to the other Contracting Party through the diplomatic channel. In the case of termination, this Agreement shall remain in force until the expiration of 12 months from the date of receipt of the notification by the other Contracting Party.
     
  4. In the event of termination, this Agreement shall continue to have effect in relation to all persons who:
    • 4.1 at the date on which termination takes effect, are in receipt of benefits; or
    • 4.2 prior to that date have lodged claims for, and would be entitled to receive, benefits by virtue of this Agreement; or
    • 4.3 immediately before the date of termination are subject to the legislation of only one Contracting Party by virtue of Articles 8 or 9 of Part II of this Agreement, provided the employee continues to satisfy the criteria of that Article.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, the undersigned, being duly authorised thereto by their respective Governments, have signed this Agreement.

DONE at Canberra on this 26th day of October 2009 in two originals, in the official languages of Australia and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, each text being equally authoritative.


FOR AUSTRALIA


FOR THE FORMER YUGOSLAV REPUBLIC OF MACEDONIA

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