China is moving ahead with its plans to force nearly 300,000 foreign workers to pay into its social insurance and pension scheme, at a total rate of 28 percent of their incomes.
State media reported on Monday that the new rule requiring expatriate workers to pay into China's social insurance scheme had gone into effect in the past few days, although the rules about implementation remain somewhat unclear. Foreign companies have not yet voiced opposition to the plan, despite the obvious cost impact on their employing foreigners in China. Foreigners would need to remain in China 15 years or more to collect the pension, and most are unlikely to take advantage of the rest of the benefits, like questionable medical care. There is some speculation that the plan is in part to help China shore up its badly ailing national pension system, with a rapidly aging population and shrinking workforce.
On the same pages, the China Daily newspaper reported a rise in the number of expatriate workers in China.
"An increasing number of foreigners are being attracted by China's prosperous economy and have come to work in the country," the paper wrote. "Figures released by the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security showed that 231,700 foreigners were employed in China at the end of 2010, compared with 223,000 in 2009."