On June 15, the Japanese Government announced a policy which stated that it will accept more international workers. It plans to create a new status of residency by next April to expand the industry for foreign nationals. There are five target industries that will be concentrated on; agriculture, nursing, construction, hospitality, and shipbuilding. These industries are currently facing serious labor shortages.
After foreign workers complete a 3-to-5-year technical internship or pass a new exam in the industry, they will be able to work for up to 5 years in Japan. In cases in which they are recognized to have high expertise during their stay, their residency status will be upgraded, allowing them to be accompanied by their families without the upper limit of 5-year of stay.
The new scheme states that foreign workers will need to speak at a conversational level in order to acquire a qualification, which will aid them in entering the Japanese workforce.
The government also supports international students to find employment in Japan. As part of their support package, they will simplify the procedure for acquiring residency status, expand opportunities for matching with companies by setting up more Employment Service for foreigners, and encourage them to start a business in Japan.
According to the data published by the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare, as of the end of October 2017, 1.279 million non-Japanese people work in Japan, which is deemed to be a record high. When this policy change is made, over 500,000 immigrants are expected to come to Japan.
The government is willing to make further efforts to help them settle down and integrate into the Japanese society. Their broad support includes providing living guidance, securing housing, and offering Japanese language lessons.
Now, companies are preparing to accept international workers. It will be a great opportunity for international talent to find a new job in Japan.
［Reference］Cabinet Office, Government of Japan: Basic Policy on Economic and Fiscal Management and Reform 2018
［Reference］NLI Research Institute: The number of foreign workers is record high, but still facing labor shortages.
［Reference］The Economist: Japan is finally starting to admit more foreign workers.