BEIJING, March 14 (Xinhua) -- The number of rural migrant workers in China hit 282 million at the end of 2016, an increase of 4.24 million from a year before, according the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security (MHRSS) Tuesday.
The country has made remarkable progress in protecting migrant workers' rights and interests, Qiu Xiaoping, MHRSS's vice minister.
The ministry has helped retrieve 35 billion yuan (about 5 billion U.S. dollars) of back pay for migrant workers, and back-pay complaints have fallen, Qiu said.
Some 58.2 million workers are covered by pension insurance and 48.2 million covered by medical insurance. 46.6 million have access to unemployment insurance and 75.1 million are protected by work injury insurance.
Qiu said the ministry will continue to help rural migrant workers settle in cities and start their own businesses. Efforts will be made to help them enjoy equal social welfare with urban residents.
Due to the household registration system that ties people's access to social welfare to their residential status, they have previously not enjoyed the same benefits in healthcare, pensions and other social benefits as city residents.
To bridge the gap, government is gradually removing the distinction between urban and rural residents.