Zhu Yile|2024-03-20
Foreign employees in China protected by social insurance

Foreigners legally employed in China are required to participate in social insurance, which includes basic endowment insurance, basic medical insurance, employment injury insurance, unemployment insurance, and maternity insurance.

Both the employer and employee must contribute to social insurance premiums, regulations state.

Employers hiring foreigners are obliged to complete social insurance registration for them within 30 days of the date of obtaining their employment permits. Foreigners' social insurance accounts are equivalent to those of Chinese citizens, providing detailed records and individual accounts after each contribution.

Newly insured individuals working in China should begin contributing to social insurance from the month they commence employment. The contribution base and rate for insurance types for foreigners is determined based on the standards for Chinese nationals in the area where the contributions are made.

Foreign employees in China protected by social insurance

Question 1: What is the eligibility criteria for participation?


  1. Holders of valid foreigner's work permits, residence permits, or permanent residence permits in China.
  2. Individuals who have signed labor contracts with Chinese employers and receive wages from them, or individuals dispatched to work in China by foreign companies who receive wages from Chinese employers.
  3. Individuals within the employment age range (up to 60 years for men and up to 55 for women).

Question 2: What documentation is required for foreigners to participate in social insurance?


  • Employment contract or appointment letter (residents of Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Macau who have completed employment registration procedures are exempt from this requirement)
  • Passport
  • Work permit
  • Residence permit
  • Residents of Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Macau should present their residence permits. Those who have not yet obtained residence permits can provide their travel permits.
  • Social insurance personal information registration form.
  • Recent, one-inch-square photograph, without a hat, in color against a white background, two copies.
  • Any other relevant supporting documentation.

Question 3: What issues are related to social insurance accounts when foreign talent departs?


  • Foreign nationals cannot transfer their social insurance benefits back to their home countries upon leaving China.
  • For foreign individuals legally employed in China, if they depart before reaching the age to receive pension benefits, their individual social insurance accounts can be preserved. Upon their return to work in China, their years of contributions can be aggregated. If they meet the age requirements for receiving pension benefits, they can apply to receive basic pension benefits according to China's regulations.
  • Upon written request to terminate their social insurance, individuals can receive the balance in their individual social insurance accounts as a lump-sum payment.
  • In the event of the death of a foreign individual, the balance in their pension insurance individual account can be inherited in accordance with the law.
  • Foreigners residing abroad China who receive monthly social insurance benefits should provide proof of their survival at least once a year to the social insurance agency responsible for paying their benefits. This proof should be issued by the Chinese embassy or consulate abroad or authenticated by the relevant authorities in the country of residence and certified by the Chinese embassy or consulate abroad.
  • Foreigners should diligently fulfill their social insurance obligations, paying social insurance premiums in full and on time, to ensure practical protection and security for their future life and retirement.

Question 4: What does "mutual exemption arrangements" refer to?


According to the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security website, China has signed social security agreements with multiple countries including Germany, South Korea, Denmark, Canada, Finland, Switzerland, the Netherlands, France, Spain, Japan, Serbia, and Luxembourg. Nationals from these countries covered under such agreements may be exempted from certain prescribed insurance premiums within the specified period according to the agreement.

Question 5: What is the procedure for application?


This can be carried out at the government service halls or the Human Resources and Social Security Bureau service halls located in the place of employment.

For further details, please visit the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security website at http://www.mohrss.gov.cn


Medical insurance, specifically the basic medical insurance for employees, is already incorporated into the social insurance paid by foreigners. They are entitled to the same medical insurance benefits as other insured employees. Foreigners can access information regarding designated medical institutions for medical insurance, reimbursement scope, and proportion on the local medical insurance administrative department website.

Additionally, foreigners or their employers have the option to acquire commercial medical insurance to cover risks beyond the scope of medical insurance.