China to improve services for foreign workers

by Ray Clancy on December 2, 2010

China to improve foreign worker system

China is moving to create more equality for foreign workers so that they don’t have to pay twice for services.

Foreign employees in China will be entitled to the same social insurance benefits as Chinese nationals under a new law that is set to benefit millions of people in the country.

The Social Insurance Law, adopted by the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress (NPC) to permit social insurance for foreigners will take effect from July 2011, Hu Xiaoyi, Vice-minister for Human Resources and Social Security said.

‘China’s economy and society are opening up more and more. Such a regulation follows international practice and gives equal national treatment to foreigners working in the country,’ he told the China Daily.

The law says that all citizens have a right to five forms of insurance: basic endowment insurance, basic medical insurance, worker injury insurance, unemployment insurance and maternity insurance. The five forms of insurance, paid for by individuals, employers and the government, will accumulate trillions of Yuan in deposits.

China plans to spend 5.74 trillion Yuan (USD 857.89 billion) by 2020 on its social welfare system to improve people’s livelihoods, according to the China Development Research Foundation, a government think tank.

Provisions relating to social insurance for foreigners working in China are also included in the new law. Hu said that to avoid foreign employees paying into social insurance programmes in China and their homelands, Beijing would sign bilateral agreements on social insurance with other countries.

Currently, most foreign workers in China have worker injury insurance and basic medical insurance in big cities such as Beijing and Shanghai. But officials said that most businesses and state owned companies in Beijing do not pay any kind of insurance for their foreign employees. They choose instead to reimburse employees for such things as medical bills, because that costs less every year.

In recent years, more and more foreigners from Southeast Asian countries have found jobs in big cities in China.

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