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A1 Insurance

The Process of Obtaining A1 Insurance for Third-Country Nationals

In this article, we will explore the intricacies of the A1 Insurance Certificate, a crucial document for facilitating cross-border employment within the European Economic Area (EEA). We will delve into the conditions, processes, and compliance requirements associated with obtaining and maintaining this certificate, ensuring that both employers and employees can navigate international work arrangements effectively.

What is an A1 Insurance Certificate? 

The general principle is that a person is part of the national insurance system in the country where they are employed, and individuals should only be associated with the insurance scheme of one country at a time. Therefore, when a foreign worker begins employment in Hungary, they are typically considered a member of the Hungarian national insurance, discontinuing their membership in their home country’s insurance scheme.

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Consequently, the employer is responsible for the employer’s contribution to the employee’s salary, while the employee covers the social security contribution.

However, if a worker is involved in activities in two or more EU member states at the same time, they can expand their insurance coverage beyond Hungary’s borders by obtaining an A1 certificate.

Preventing the payment of social security contributions in two places can be achieved by submitting an A1 form. This official EU form serves as confirmation that an individual remains a member of their home country’s social security program. 

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Duration of the A1 Insurance

The A1 certificate, issued by the relevant health insurance authority in Hungary, depends on either the employer’s place of residence in Hungary or the insured person’s place of residence. It is valid for up to 24 months but can be extended upon request until the work circumstances change or the activity concludes.

If the employer intends to send the same employee to the same Member State within 60 days of the previous posting’s conclusion, Hungarian law can be applied to the new posting, provided that the total duration of both postings does not exceed 24 months. 

After a minimum of 60 days following the conclusion of the previous posting, if the employer sends the employee back to the same Member State, a new posting of up to 24 months can be established without considering the duration of the previous assignment. If the posting occurs in multiple states consecutively, the applicable law will be evaluated, and separate certificates will be issued for each state. 

What are the Conditions and Processes of Obtaining an A1 Insurance Certificate? 

To acquire an A1 Insurance Certificate, the employer must submit an A1 Form to the authorities of the country where they are currently making social security contributions.

Before applying, it’s crucial to confirm for each employee if the Hungarian health insurance body is eligible to issue the certificate, meaning that Hungarian legislation is applicable. 

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A1 Insurance: The posting rules can be applied under the following conditions 

  1. The employer must engage in substantial economic activities within the domestic territory 
  2. Significant domestic economic activity is considered to exist if, during the entire assignment period: 
  • The proportion of employees involved in domestic and foreign economic activities (such as production, distribution, and services) within the average number of employees reaches a specified level, or 
  • The share of income from domestic activities within the total income amounts to at least 25 percent 

In this instance, the government agency will examine data pertaining to current and anticipated domestic and foreign operations throughout the last 12 months, as well as the equivalent future term.

The health insurance body assesses the employer’s application within 8 days in a summary procedure and within 60 days in a full procedure. If the competent health insurance body confirms the application of Hungarian legislation, it will issue an official A1 certificate within 30 days of receiving the request. This certificate will specify the time range and circumstances, and it is valid in all Member States. 

Documents required for the A1 Insurance: 

  • The employer needs to provide a notification of employment certificate
  • For self-employed individuals, proof of insurance status must be furnished through company documents
  • The employer is required to declare the continuous maintenance of the employment relationship during the posting, payment of contributions, and fulfilment of other reporting obligations
  • Application forms and documents specified on the NEAK website, such as the foreign employment contract and business license for concurrent activities, should be submitted

For the exhaustive list of requirements of the A1 Insurance Certificate consult the following official link: https://www.neak.gov.hu/felso_menu/lakossagnak/ellatas_kulfoldon/biztositasi_kotelezettseg_eu_szerint/parhuzamos_tevekenyseg_ket_vagy_tobb_eutagallamban

A1 Insurance: Compliance with the Destination Country´s Conditions 

Throughout the period of the assignment, it is essential to ensure that employees receive working conditions in compliance with the destination country´s legal requirements or the applicable collective agreement for: 

  • Maximum working hours
  • Minimum annual paid leave 
  • Wages, as defined by the national law of the destination country or a generally applicable collective agreement, 
  • Occupational health and safety, 
  • Measures aimed at protecting pregnant women and women with small children, as well as young people (under 18 years of age) 
  • Equal treatment between men and women, 
  • The conditions for the accommodation of employees in the destination country, if the employer is obliged to provide the accommodation 
  • Allowances or reimbursement for travel, meal, and accommodation expenses during the assignment 

This list covers everything except for the situation where a host EU member state can, under the Treaty and ensuring fairness, also demand adherence to employment terms beyond those mentioned above, particularly in cases involving public policy provisions.

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Non-EU Citizens 

In accordance with the European Court of Justice´s ruling, the official request for an A1 insurance certificate cannot be denied when a third-country national employee working in Hungary possesses both a Hungarian residence permit and an accommodation registration form approved by immigration authorities. Pursuant to EU legislation, the individual has a “legal residence” in Hungary, allowing them to lawfully engage in work in the context of a paid relationship within the Member State´s territory.

Additionally, the Veszprém General Court upheld in a 2022 ruling that questions regarding an employee’s centre of interest are inadmissible, requiring authorities to assess if the certified accommodation aligns with the notion of ‘legally resident’ as defined by relevant regulations. This shifts focus from evaluating residency criteria to adherence with the concept of ‘residence’ under Regulation (EC) No 883/2004.

In another important decision, the European Court of Justice ruled in Van der Elst (C-43/93) that host countries within the EU cannot demand a work permit from third-country nationals who are posted by a company established in another EU member state.

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For More Information on How to Obtain Hungarian Permanent Residency Check Out the Following Official Website: http://www.bmbah.hu/index.php?option=com_k2&view=item&layout=item&id=75&Itemid=716&lang=en

Conclusion 

The A1 Insurance Certificate is a key player in enabling seamless cross-border employment within the European Economic Area (EEA). This official document, issued by Hungary’s health insurance authority, allows individuals to maintain their home country’s social security benefits while working in different member states. The process involves a straightforward submission of an A1 Form by the employer, with a quick processing time leading to the issuance of a universally recognized certificate.

Moreover, the article emphasizes the importance of compliance with the destination country’s conditions during the assignment, covering aspects such as working hours, leave, wages, occupational health and safety, and other relevant factors. It also highlights that non-EU citizens can apply for the A1 insurance certificate when posted for an assignment with permanent residency in an EU member state, as defined by local regulations.

Notably, non-EU citizens with a Hungarian residence permit can also benefit from this system, enabling lawful work within all Member States. 

In essence, the A1 Insurance Certificate streamlines international work arrangements, offering a practical and legally sound solution for employers and employees navigating the complexities of cross-border employment.

Hilary Agbo 

 

Sources: 

https://www.neak.gov.hu/felso_menu/lakossagnak/ellatas_kulfoldon/biztositasi_kotelezettseg_eu_szerint/parhuzamos_tevekenyseg_ket_vagy_tobb_eutagallamban

https://www.neak.gov.hu/nyomtatvanytar/Igenylolap_biztositasi_igazolashoz_Magyarorszagon_es_egy_masik_allamban_parhuzamosan_folytatott_kereso_tevekenyseg_eseten

https://europa.eu/youreurope/business/human-resources/posted-workers/posting-staff-abroad/index_hu.htm

CXXII of 2019 on those entitled to social security benefits and the coverage of these benefits. Act Nos. 89-95 §

https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/PDF/?uri=CELEX:02004R0883-20140101

https://www.ey.com/hu_hu/workforce/harmadik-orszagbol-erkezett-munkavallalok-kikuldetese

https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/PDF/?uri=CELEX:62017CJ0477&rid=3 (CJEU Holiday on Ice case (C-477/17) 

https://jogkodex.hu/doc/7791146 (The Veszprém Tribunal K.701063/2022/6. decision) 

https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/PDF/?uri=CELEX:61993CJ0043 ( Van der Elst case (C-43/93))

http://www.bmbah.hu/index.php?option=com_k2&view=item&layout=item&id=75&Itemid=716&lang=en