Japan allows more foreign workers. Then again…..

The envisaged creation of a new visa program to accept foreign workers may help ease Japan’s serious labor crunch that looks set to get worse in coming years amid the rapid aging of its society.


For a country known for keeping a firm grip on immigration, however, the challenges are manifold, ranging from social security to education, to prevent incoming foreign workers from being left out.

photo credit to: https://www.japantimes.co.jp

The program is a gigantic shift from the traditional policy of taking highly skilled professionals. This comes in response to an alarming number of calls from companies and industries facing labor shortages.


The new method is designed for foreigners wanting to work in sectors facing labor shortages. Japanese Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe, says the new method doesn’t allow more immigrants to come in.


But labor and immigration experts argue that foreign labor should not be treated as a quick fix. Japan needs a long-term approach to allow people from different countries to enter Japan.


The number of foreign workers stood at around 2.5 million as of January 2018. This number is up some 174,000 from 2017 and is lifted by demand for foreign labor. Japan’s total population, including foreigners, dropped 200,000 from a year earlier to about 128 million due to aging.


The Cabinet approved legislation Friday to create new types of visa for foreign nationals with Japanese language skills wishing to work in Japan, with an eye to launching them in April.


The first type is valid for five years. It will be given to those who have the required knowledge and experience in a specific field and cannot bring their family members to Japan.


The second type is for those with higher-level work and Japanese-language skills. These have no renewal limit and those who apply for this visa can bring in family members and stay in the country indefinitely.


Reference: Japan eyes new foreign worker program but challenges abound


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