Generaties oktober 2018

Foreign pension

Foreign pension  

The pension of Ulviyya Guluzade from Azerbaijan

'The open culture here at Philips suits me'

Pensions are never straightforward, and they get even more complicated if you spend time in another country and build up pension rights in more than one pension system. What are the rules? What difficulties do people encounter when they move to take up employment in another country? What works, and what creates problems? We talked to Ulviyya Guluzade (26) from Azerbaijan.

Ulviyya was born in Azerbaijan’s capital Baku in 1991. That was also the year in which her country gained its independence from the Soviet Union, making Ulviyya one of the first ‘official’ citizens of this young country in the Caucasus. Since moving to Rotterdam when she was twenty, to study at Erasmus University, this enthusiastic Azerbaijani has spent most of the past six years in the Netherlands. She joined Philips a year and a half ago, working as a project manager in Amsterdam. Ulviyya Guluzade

From the Caucasus to the Netherlands: what inspired that move?

'I took part in a government-organised programme in Azerbaijan, that offered students scholarships to study abroad. Most of the other students preferred the UK, for the language and the international orientation. I wanted to do something different. I like to venture off the beaten track. After a bit of research – to find out about the country and how the various universities were rated – I decided on Rotterdam’s Erasmus University. The Economics and Business Administration programmes were the best by some margin. Not only that, Rotterdam seemed like a great city.'

How did the transition go?

'It took some getting used to. The Netherlands and Azerbaijan have very different cultures. Most of it was good, though! People are very open here. If they disagree with something, they don’t hesitate to say so. In Azerbaijan people tend to avoid touchy issues. I’ve always been more of the first type, which is probably why I like working here so much. Clear, open and simple communication: that’s my thing. There’s also a good balance between work and private life here. People work hard during business hours, and enjoy their time off. That’s the logical approach, as well as a healthy one.'

So things are different in Azerbaijan?

’Yes. You’re expected to stay at work until the boss leaves. Face time is very important, even if it isn’t always efficient. Working days in Azerbaijan tend to be very long. Sometimes you have to work long days in the Netherlands too, but then there’s always a reason for it.’

You joined Philips for ...?

‘I joined Philips in April 2017, as a project manager on the Business Transformation team. Our “Solutions Transformation” programme is helping Philips to become even better as a Healthcare provider. So many trends are going on in healthcare that our customers are facing new challenges. They want more than just a product. Our programme helps the company by enabling it to provide comprehensive “solutions”. What I enjoy most about my job is that every day is different. You have to be flexible and be able to switch from one thing to another very quickly. And that’s what I love best!’

What is typical of Philips is ...?

‘The endless meetings, hahaha! People show respect for each other, and everyone’s opinion matters. The upshot is that sometimes it can take an age before a decision is reached. That tends to take the steam out of projects. Philips is a real “people’s company” that way, although this also has its advantages. That careful work/life balance is sacred, for instance – as sacred as cheese sandwiches are to the Dutch!’

How does Azerbaijan handle its pensions?

‘Part of the employee’s income is remitted to the government by their employer. When the employee retires, a government agency called the NSA (the National Security Agency) arranges for him or her to receive a pension. Everyone also receives a flat “fee” from the government on top of the pension from their employer. That fee is the same for everyone. At the moment the retirement age is 60 for women and 63 for men. This will be raised to 65 for everyone shortly.’

And in the Netherlands?

‘I know that the pension system here is based on three pillars: a government pension, a pension from your employer and what you arrange for yourself, for example from savings, by investing on the stock market or through other investments. I don’t remember whether I learned that from Philips, but it’s possible. I’ve looked into this at my own initiative. I believe it’s important to understand these things. We have a responsibility as employees, I think: it’s simply a question of putting some time into it.’

What does the future hold?

‘At the moment I’m really happy in Amsterdam, together with my fiancé, who’s also from Azerbaijan. We’re enjoying our lives here, and our apartment just off Amstelpark. We don’t have any plans to leave any time soon. That said, ambitions and dreams change. The most important thing is that we both still have a lot to learn where we are now. That’s what matters, as far as we’re concerned. Whether we might move back to Azerbaijan in the future? Perhaps. The country is developing rapidly. It’s becoming more and more attractive, and drawing a great deal of foreign investment. Perhaps we might do some of that investing ourselves one day, who knows?’

Pensions from another country
If you have spent time outside the Netherlands and wordt for an non-Dutch employer, you might have accrued pension rights in a different country. Contact the relevant government auagency in the country in question to find out about any state pension you may be entitled to there. For information about supplementary pension rights, contact the pension fund or your former employer.
Gecontroleerd op: 29-10-2018

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