On December 10th, a few days after the Diet passed the new immigration bill, the leading recruitment service Pasona Group’s think tank, Pasona Institute published the results of their awareness survey on the new visa residence statuses for work in Japan. The survey covered about 850 local employees working in four different Asian countries, India, Indonesia, the Philippines and Vietnam.
Under this new immigration policy, workers with type 1 visas will be eligible to extend their stay in Japan for 5 years. The survey revealed that about 80% of the survey participants are in favor of this duration of residence: 66% indicated the duration is appropriate, and 13% indicated it is more than enough. One question in the survey was about a preferred period of time to work in Japan, and the participants gave different answers. Responses of less than 5 years totaled 44%, while 56% of the people surveyed hoped to work more than 5 years, or possibly indefinitely.
Regarding the requirement of conversational level Japanese proficiency for the type 1 visa, about 90 % of the survey participants were receptive: 65% found it appropriate, and 23% found it too generous.
The survey also asked the employees about the reasons they would like to work in Japan, and 72% replied that they would like to improve their skills, and 67% would like to increase their income and experience. In terms of the popularity of the 14 industries that the government is considering to open for foreign workers, 27% chose food manufacturing, 20% chose industrial machinery manufacturing, while electronics, food services and automobile maintenance were all tied at 19%.
At the same time, the popularity of those 14 industries differed from country to country. In the Philippines, in particular, where female employees accounted for the vast majority of the survey participants, building cleaning was one of the most popular business sectors, chosen by 45% of those surveyed.
The survey participants also showed divergent opinions in relation to another regulation for the workers with type 1 visas, which is to restrict them from bringing their family members into the country. 52% accepted the restrictions while 48% disapproved of them, saying that they should be accompanied by their family members.
The results of this survey show that employees in Asian countries are mostly in favor of what the new immigration law offers. With the implementation of the new visa residence statuses for work starting next April, Japan is going to experience an unprecedented turning point in its immigration policy. Therefore, it is important for Japanese society as a whole to establish a welcoming environment for foreign workers where they feel accepted and can start a new life in Japan with sufficient support.