For­eign­ers stay­ing cool to insurance

China Daily (Canada) - - CHINA - By ZHAO HUANXIN HE DAN

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 pro­gram to for­eign work­ers, more than 200,000 ex­pats have par­tic­i­pated in var­i­ous so­cial insurance pro­grams, said Hu Xiaoyi, vicem­i­nis­ter of hu­man re­sources and so­cial se­cu­rity.

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

“This is a small ra­tio,” Hu told China Daily on Thurs­day.

China has ne­go­ti­ated so­cial se­cu­rity agree­ments with a dozen coun­tries over the past three years, Hu said at a news con­fer­ence or­ga­nized 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-yearold 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.

How­ever, the English teacher found most of the insurance plans of lit­tle im­por­tance.

“I don’t think an un­em­ploy­ment plan would help for­eign­ers. If we are un­em­ployed, we lose our visas and rights to stay in China,” Will­cox said.

He said he gave up claim­ing for med­i­cal ex­penses af­ter he re­al­ized the pro­ce­dure was too com­pli­cated when he went to a hos­pi­tal in Shang­hai.

Lu Quan, an as­so­ci­ate pro­fes­sor spe­cial­iz­ing in so­cial insurance at Ren­min Univer­sity of China, said he be­lieved ex­pats lacked en­thu­si­asm to join Chi­nese ba­sic so­cial insurance due to flaws in the sys­tem.

“Speak­ing of the pen­sion plan, ex­pats worry that their pur­chas­ing power will de­cline af­ter they re­turn to their home coun­tries if they mainly live on the slen­der pen­sion claimed from China, or if their mother coun­try doesn’t rec­og­nize their con­tri­bu­tions dur­ing the pe­riod they worked in China,” he said. Con­tact the writ­ers at zhao­huanxin@chi­ cn and hedan@chi­nadaily.

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