TOKYO: Skilled and highly qualified worker can now work in Japan. Japan on Friday (Oct 12) disclosed a plan to attract more foreign worker.
The world’s number-three economy is battling a crippling labour shortage due to ageing and shrinking population, which has led the Government of Japan to take this initiative to attract more Qualified Foreign Workers.
The aim of the plan reportedly is to fill gaping shortages in sectors of agriculture, nursing, construction, hotels, and shipbuilding.
The workers will be allowed to work up to five years in Japan after being awarded a visa under the draft legislation for foreign nationals with skills in fields identified as facing shortages.
Foreign workers who are highly qualified and skilled will also be required to clear the Japanese language test. The workers will be able to bring their families as well and also obtain permanent residency status.
The will be submitted to parliament at earliest with the possibility of the launch in April as stated by the government spokesman, Yoshihide Suga.
Currently, Japan is only giving residential status to highly skilled professionals as the government has been traditionally cautious about unskilled foreign workers. The only exception to this rule is for South Americans of Japanese descent.
And Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s government has stressed the reforms are not intended as a wholesale overhaul of Japanese immigration policy, and mass immigration is not expected.
Yoshihide Suga, however, said, the policy of Japan to not rely heavily on foreign worker will not change on asking if this will drastically change the current immigration policy of allowing a large number of foreigners in the country.
Japan struggles to find workers in the country where unemployment is around 2.5 percent. Japan has 163 job vacancies to every 100 job seekers.
The government has not set a target for foreign workers under the new proposals, although local media put the figure at more than 500,000 people by 2025.
In 2017 Japan had 1.28 million foreign workers according to government figures. Among those are more than 450,000 foreign spouses of Japanese citizens, ethnic Koreans who settled in Japan a long time ago or foreigners of Japanese descent. Further students who are allowed to work park time amount to 300,000 who will be returning back to their countries after completing their studies.
According to government figures in late 2017, Japan had less than 240,000 foreign skilled workers and just over 250,000 foreign trainees in the country. It has bilateral deals allowing only limited numbers of nurses and care workers from other parts of Asia.