Grant-assisted PhD students and employed researchers and lecturers accrue pension or retirement rights based on the social security contributions deducted directly from their grant or salary. What happens to their Belgian pension once their research in Belgium comes to an end depends on where they go afterward.
Individuals who move to a country within the European Economic Area (the European Union and its member states) and retire in that country will have their Belgian pension exported in accordance with European Regulation 1408/71. Under this Regulation (which also applies to non-nationals of the EEA since European Regulation 859/2003 came into force), each member state where an individual has paid social security contributions for at least one year must pay a graduated pension (based on length of service) corresponding to the full contribution period in the country of retirement. A pension is received only upon reaching the country’s official retirement age, which in the case of Belgium is 65 years of age.
Retirees in a country outside the European Economic Area can have their Belgian pension exported only if they are a national of the European Economic Area or a country with which Belgium has concluded a bilateral social security convention (Algeria, Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada and Quebec, Chile, Croatia, Iceland, India, Israel, Japan, Kosovo, Liechtenstein, Macedonia, Montenegro, Moldavia, Morocco, Norway, the Philippines, Democratic Republic of Congo, San Marino, South Korea, Switzerland, Tunisia, Turkey, the United States, Uruguay and the independent states of the former Yugoslavia). Those who are not a national of any of these countries will only be entitled to a Belgian pension if they remain in Europe.