Reuters recently conducted a company survey regarding revisions to the Immigration Control Law, which will introduce a new visa for foreign workers with certain skills. According to the survey results, there were many answers indicating that companies felt the government’s new system for accepting foreign workers is imperfect. However, 80% of companies also answered that they generally welcomed the changes, citing labor shortages as a reason.
The survey was conducted from November 20th to December 3rd, and targeted 480 mid and large sized companies with a capital of 10 million yen or more. Around 230 companies actually responded to the survey.
11% of the companies that responded said they “welcomed” the amendments to the Immigration Control Law, which open the path to permanent residency to a wide range of foreign workers. 66% of companies surveyed answered that it would be “more or less welcome.” In total, 77% of companies answered that the changes would be welcome to some degree.
On the other hand, some companies were “opposed” or “somewhat opposed.” The reasons for these answers included concerns over certain aspects of the system’s maintenance, including the rights of immigrants. Other companies cited fears that public safety will get worse.
The Abe administration announced its aims to receive a maximum foreign labor force of 340,000 strong with the new “Special Skill” visa, introduced through the amendments to the Immigration Control Law. 25% of companies in the Reuters survey responded that “they should aim higher,” while 55% answered that the aims sounded “about right.”
It’s clear from this survey that businesses have a strong demand for foreign workers in the midst of Japan’s aging population problem, which is causing worsening labor shortages. The key to solving this problem seems to be meeting the requests of companies, while also tangible factors like facilities, accommodations, systems, and intangible factors like personnel, information that allow newly arrived foreign workers to live comfortable lives in Japan.