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Chinese law makers last week adopted legislation that would give foreign employees the same social insurance benefits as Chinese nationals, according to ChinaDaily.com.

The Social Insurance Law, which was adopted by the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress (NPC), will take effect in July 2011.

Hu Xiaoyi, vice-minister for human resources and social security, was quoted at a news conference held by the NPC’s Standing Committee on Thursday, saying that the regulation follows international practice and gives equal national treatment to foreigners working in the country

The law specifies 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 (NZD$1.12 trillion) by 2020 on an all-round 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.

To avoid foreign employees paying into social insurance programs in China and their homelands, Beijing will sign bilateral agreements on social insurance with other countries, the report said.

The law says that companies will pay worker injury insurance for employees at a rate to be decided by the State Council, or the cabinet, depending on how dangerous their jobs are.

The law overcomes many of the obstacles under the old regulations, which had an effect on the movement of the migrant population. For example, it says that a new medical payment system should be established to allow medical insurance to be paid into one place and drawn upon in another.

But the law does not say how many insurance types will be available to foreign workers, compulsorily or optionally.

According to the report, most foreign workers in China currently enjoy worker injury insurance and basic medical insurance in big cities such as Beijing and Shanghai.

But insiders told China Daily 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.

During the first half of 2010, about 12.55 million people from overseas travelled to China, including 5.89 million for sightseeing and 800,000 people for business visits, according to the latest statistics from the bureau of exit and entry administration of the Ministry of Public Security.

At the end of 2009, about 223,000 foreigners held employment permits, Cui said. – Source: ChinaDaily.com

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