China's effort to cover foreign workers receives lukewarm response

China's effort to cover foreign workers receives lukewarm response

China's effort to cover foreign workers in its social security net has received a lukewarm response, with authorities conceding that only a small portion of expats have joined the system.

Two and half years after the enactment of China's Social Insurance Law, which extends the country's social security programme to foreign workers, more than 200,000 expats have participated in various social insurance programmes, said Hu Xiaoyi, vice-minister of human resources and social security.

The official said about 20 per cent of expats working in China had joined the country's social security programmes covering basic pension, medical, unemployment, working injury and maternity benefits.

"This is a small ratio," Hu said on Thursday.

China has negotiated social security agreements with a dozen countries over the past three years, Hu said at a news conference organised by the State Council Information Office on Thursday.

The discussions aim to simplify the payment of social security contributions for foreigners in China and Chinese citizens working overseas, according to the ministry sources.

The latest deal was signed with Denmark on Monday, Hu said, adding that such accords will help citizens to participate in social insurance policies in the country where they work.

William Willcox, a 26-year-old Briton working in Beijing, said he had participated in the public social insurance plan since he started working in China two years ago, and his employer bought him another private health insurance plan.

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