New insurance law to benefit foreign employees

Updated: 2011-06-02 17:34


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BEIJING -- More than 230,000 foreign employees with work permits are expected to benefit from upcoming changes to China's Social Insurance Law, a senior government official said on Wednesday.

Xu Yanjun, deputy director of social security center of the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security, said the ministry is now finalizing details regarding the implementation of the law, which is expected to begin on July 1.

There were some 231,700 foreigners with work permits living in China by the end of 2010, Xu said, adding that only foreigners with legal work permits are able to benefit from social insurance programs.

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According to China's Social Insurance Law, foreign nationals who are employed in China shall be covered by the country's social insurance system.

The move to extend social insurance coverage to foreigners aims to promote equality between Chinese citizens and foreign nationals working in China, said Zhou Tianyong, a professor of social insurance at the Party School of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC).

"As China's economy continues to open to the outside world, more and more foreigners are seeking jobs in China," Zhou said, adding that excluding foreigners working for Chinese companies from China's social insurance program would be unfair.

Zhou said that foreigners working in China used to work in upper-level managerial or technical positions, which often came with higher salaries.

However, a new crop of foreigners have been coming to work in China's labor-intensive industries, where wages are lower.

"Therefore, it is necessary to include foreign employees under our social insurance network. They should be insured with the same rights and obligations as Chinese insurants," he added.

Foreign workers currently living in China's larger cities, such as Beijing and Shanghai, are limited to having work injury insurance and basic medical insurance.

Xu reiterated that China will treat foreign employees according to international practices and will not set limits on the types of social insurance available to them.

Foreign employees will gain access to five forms of insurance under the new law, including endowment insurance, basic medical insurance, work injury insurance, unemployment insurance and maternity insurance.

The new law will also ensure that workers from countries that have signed bilateral social insurance agreements with China will be able to avoid paying two premiums, Xu said.

China has signed similar agreements with Germany and the Republic of Korea (ROK).

Xu said the Chinese government is working with more countries to create new bilateral insurance agreements.


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