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Do foreigners need to participate in Chinese social insurance?

Many countries have social insurances and benefits, so does China.

In China, employers and workers must participate in social insurance and pay premiums according to law.

Chinese social insurance

All units registered in China should pay social insurance for their employees, including basic endowment insurance, medical insurance, maternity insurance, unemployment insurance and work-related injury insurance.


Can foreigners also be insured in China?

Certainly. The "workers" and "employees" mentioned here refer not only to Chinese employees, but also to foreigners working in China.

  1. Non-Chinese nationals who have obtained employment certificates such as foreigner's work permit in China, Permit for Foreign Resident Reporters and foreigner's residence permit and are legally employed.

  2. Non-Chinese nationals who hold the permanent residence ID card and legally employed.

  3. Foreigners who, after concluding an employment contract with an overseas employer, are dispatched to work in a branch or representative office registered in China.


As for the insurance premium, it depends on your social insurance base.

The base of social insurance paid shall be determined according to employees’ average monthly salary of the previous year. The payment base shall not be lower than 60% of the provincial average salary of the previous year and shall not be higher than 300% of the provincial average salary of the previous year.

To reduce costs, many companies will choose to pay social insurance premiums for employees at a minimum base of 2300 yuan/month.

The social insurance premium is jointly borne by the work unit and the employee, and the part borne by the employee shall be withheld and remitted by the unit from his/her salary.

Chinese social insurance

The premium is not fixed. It will see increase or decrease. Taking the minimum salary of 2300 yuan as an example, in December 2022, the social insurance premium borne by employer will be 946.38 yuan, with a drop of 135.08 yuan compared to November, and 477.82 yuan for employee with a drop of 38.1 yuan.


But many foreigners have worked in China for many years, but they have never participated in social insurance. “I will leave China sooner or later and return to my country. Isn't it a waste of money to buy social insurance in China?”

Wrong!Social insurance can be a money saver for you too!

You can get reimbursement if you see a doctor with medical insurance, and also you can buy medicine in the pharmacy using the money in your medical insurance account. If you lose your job, unemployment insurance benefits might help you a lot. Work-related injury insurance equals medical expenses, living care expenses, disability subsidies and disability allowances when you get injured during work. Maternity insurance provides material security and medical services when you (or your wife) are having a baby.

What’s more, for those who leave China before meeting the statutory pension conditions, their pension insurance personal accounts shall be retained. When come to China for employment again, the payment years shall be calculated cumulatively; If the pension insurance relationship is terminated by written application, the amount stored in his individual account of pension insurance may also be paid to the person in a lump sum.


Some are because their employers refuse to pay social insurance. But the employer is legally required to pay social insurance for employees. All acts of not paying or not paying social insurance premiums in full are illegal acts prohibited by law.

Article 72 of Chapter VII of the Labor Law of the People's Republic of China

Chinese social insurance

Article 97 of Chapter 12 of the Social Insurance Law of the People's Republic of China

Chinese social insurance

As long as there is a labor relationship, the enterprise should pay social insurance for employees. Therefore, it is necessary for you to sign a labor contract with your employer. Once a dispute occurs, the contract can be used as a proof of the labor relationship between two parties.

If your employer refuse to pay your social insurance, you can go to the labor arbitration institution where the enterprise is located to request arbitration.

In case no contract is signed, the salary slip, stamped certificate, work clothes and other documents that can prove the labor relationship between you and your employer can also be collected as evidence for arbitration.

But it should be noted that the premise for foreigners to participate in social insurance is that he/she is legally working in China. Illegal employment is not protected by any law here. Even if your employer refuses to pay wages, you cannot apply for labor arbitration.

A valid work permit is what you need for legal employment in China. Many cities have begun to require that proof of participation in social insurance be provided when applying for extension of work permit.

Therefore, it is necessary for foreign employees to participate in social insurance!


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