Japan to hire 60,000 foreigners. As Long as You’re a Nurse

photo credit to: https://asia.nikkei.com

Japan’s nursing care businesses are expected to accept up to 60,000 foreign workers over five years, the highest number among 14 industrial sectors facing labor shortages that will be subject to proposed changes of the immigration law, the government said Wednesday.


Disclosing a number of estimates to the ruling and opposition parties, which have just begun deliberations on a bill to revise the law, the government also said up to 47,550 foreign workers could enter the country in the first year, possibly starting next April, and 345,150 workers over five years.


In a major policy shift for Japan, the bill would create new visa statuses to accept blue- collar foreign workers in sectors deemed seriously short of labor, ranging from construction and farming to nursing care. The program may also pave the way for them to live permanently in Japan.


By sector, nursing care is expected to accept the largest number of up to 60,000 workers in the five-year period, food services up to 53,000 workers and construction about 40,000.


The other sectors covered by the program are industrial machinery, electronics, shipbuilding, auto maintenance, components production, airlines, accommodation, fishing as well as food and beverage production.


Japan has so far mainly accepted highly skilled professionals in such fields as medicine and law, while taking in only a tiny number of refugees. But it is now in need of more foreign workers due to a rapidly aging population and low birthrate.


The government’s plan to accept more foreign workers was largely welcomed by the 14 industries, but some experts doubt if enough skilled laborers from abroad would wish to work in those sectors.


Under the envisioned system, two new types of residence status for non Japanese workers are expected to be created. The first type, valid for up to five years, will go to those with adequate knowledge and experience.


The second type will be for foreign nationals needed in fields requiring higher skills. The government will not limit on the number of visa renewals and will allow family members to accompany the workers, opening up the possibility for such people to live permanently in Japan.


Reference: Japan may accept up to 60,000 foreign workers in nursing care sector


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