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HMRC internal manual

National Insurance Manual

Special Cases: International: People going to or coming from abroad: Introduction: What is the basis for the Regulation?

What is the basis for the Regulations

Anyone who has lived and worked temporarily in countries where there are no agreements co-ordinating social security will understand that having to pay contributions simultaneously in two countries at once, and negotiating your way through that bureaucracy, can be costly. Being left without health and social security insurance because you fall through a gap between systems can be frightening and a barrier to free movement. Co-ordinating regulations generally act to reduce or remove those barriers.

That a lack of social insurance, or overlapping social insurance could be a bar to free movement was recognised by Article 51 of the European Community Treaty (currently Article 42 EC) which created regulations co-ordinating the social security schemes of Member States. The same principles were later recognised as applying to self employed workers (under Articles 43 EC and 49 EC, and then Article 235 of the Treaty - Article 308 EC).


The co-ordinating regulations made under the EC Treaty have direct effect in Member states without further incorporation. The UK has ratified the EC Treaty and incorporated it into domestic law. Therefore these regulations flowing from the Treaty have direct effect here.

Where national social security laws conflicts with the Treaty and the co-ordinating regulations, the Treaty and regulations are capable of modifying that national legislation, so as to give effect to the co-ordinating regulations and Treaty rights.