China May Expand Services for Migrant Workers, Securities Says

A new Chinese urbanization plan will grant city residency to more migrant workers, according to the official Shanghai Securities News, potentially expanding basic rights to hundreds of millions of people.

The plan will give migrants access to the household- registration system in cities where they live, giving them and their children access to services such as education, health care and pensions, according to the newspaper. “Mega-cities” such as Beijing and Shanghai may be exempt from the new policies, the newspaper said, citing unidentified government officials.

Li Keqiang, set to take over from Wen Jiabao as premier in March, is championing urbanization to put economic growth on a sustainable path. China in 2011 had 158.6 million migrant workers who had left their rural homes to take jobs in cities, sometimes with their families, according to an annual survey published in April by China’s National Bureau of Statistics.

Giving migrant workers more rights is “the cornerstone of Li’s new-style urbanization strategy,” Steven Sun, the head of China equity strategy at HSBC Holdings Plc in Hong Kong, wrote in a note last week. Reform of the household registration system may generate infrastructure investment of 100,000 yuan for each of these migrant workers, he estimated.

Of the migrants tracked by the statistics office last year, 14 percent had pension coverage and 17 percent had health care insurance in the towns where they lived.

To contact Bloomberg News staff for this story: Xin Zhou in Beijing at xzhou68@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Paul Panckhurst at ppanckhurst@bloomberg.net

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