Foreigners remain lukewarm to China’s social security scheme

Hu Xiaoyi, vice-minister of human resources and social security. Photo: english.cri.cn

Hu Xiaoyi, vice-minister of human resources and social security. Photo: english.cri.cn

Two and a half years after China’s Social Insurance Law rolled out, an action that saw the extension of the country’s social security programs to foreigner works, only about 20% of expats working in China had joined.

Hu Xiaoyi, vice-minister of human resources and social security, told China Daily that more than 200,000 expats have participated in various social insurance programs covering basic pension, medical, unemployment, working injury and maternity benefits. “This is a small ratio,” Hu said.

The China Daily also interviewed 26-year-old William Willcox, an English teacher from the UK, who has participated in the social insurance plan since he started working in China two years ago. He explained he “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.

For a pension, he said he would not work longer than 15 years in China, the minimum period to benefit from the endowment insurance.

“I have plans to stay in China for a few years. However, I see myself returning to the EU in the near future, as social welfare is better there,” he added. [source]