Japan hoping to attract 340,000 foreign workers in the next five years

  • workers in Japan
Published on 2019-02-12 at 12:00 by Anne-Lise Mty
The Japanese government is targeting Fourteen industries. Indeed, in December last year, the government has announced a series of measures designed to attract skilled workers to cater to the shortage in 14 sectors in Japan. By 2024, the government hopes to have welcomed 340, 000 foreign workers in these sectors. Starting April this year, a new visa category will be enforced, and skill tests will be carried out on candidates for the nursing, restaurant and construction sectors. The decision comes after the Japanese government have been trying for years now to find a solution for labour shortages resulting from the declining population.

What sector is Japan targeting in this move?

Cleaning, agriculture, fishery, materials processing, industrial machinery, electronics and electric machinery, shipbuilding, vehicle maintenance, airport ground handling and aircraft maintenance, construction, restaurants, food and beverage, hotels and nursing care... These are the 14 sectors in which Japan will be massively recruiting foreign workers over the next five years.

I am evolving in these sectors, am I eligible for a work permit in Japan?

Candidates passing the skills tests in their respective fields will all be eligible for a work permit in Japan. They might also need to have some level of proficiency in Japanese. However, Japan has signed agreements with neighbouring countries to be able to conduct skills tests with citizens who are interested in moving to Japan.

How long will I be able to stay in Japan?

Japan has set up two new visa categories. Under the first visa category, aimed at low-skilled workers, a five-year working visa permit will be offered. The workers will also need to have some proficiency in Japanese. Only highly skilled individuals under the earmarked sectors will be able to apply for the second visa category. The individuals granted a second category visa will also be able to apply for permanent residency.

If you are aiming for permanent residency, however, you will need to be fluent in Japanese. Language schools and help desks will be set-up across Japan to help foreign workers to make their way through life in Japan as well as learn the language. You must have stayed in Japan for ten years if you want permanent residency.

Can I bring my partner and children?

Only workers are eligible for this work permit. It doesn't apply to their family members.