Japan has made it much easier for foreigners to obtain a work visa for Japan. The country has a shortage of workers and is now looking abroad to recruit workers. This is welcome news for anyone who dreams of working and living in the Land of the Rising Sun.
There are 2 versions of the new Japanese work visa which both require applicants to be sponsored by a local company. Visa applicants must also provide a range of documentation and pass a Japanese language exam.
Martin Schulz, senior economist for the Fujitsu Research Institute in Tokyo, said:
“Government statistics and industry are both telling us that the labor market is completely empty.”
“With the boom in the construction sector ahead of the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games, companies are becoming desperate. They are finding it very hard to fulfill their current project requirements and they are refusing to take on new projects,” he said.
The 2 Types of New Japan Work Visas
There are 2 types of the new work visa which both allow workers to stay in Japan for up to 5 years (with the option of a renewal).
- The first type of visa is aimed at blue-collar workers with limited skills. It covers 14 industries including catering, cleaning, construction, agriculture, and fishing.
- The second type of Japan work visa is aimed at skilled workers and it allows workers to bring their families with them if they meet certain criteria. People with in-demand skills can apply for this type of visa.
How Many Work Visas will Japan Issue?
Japan’s labor shortage needs urgent attention. It is expected that around 50,0000 work visas will be issued in the first year and that roughly 350,000 will be processed over the next 5 years. However, these numbers will still fail to meet the needs of the domestic economy according to experts.
Japan has seen increasing numbers of women entering the workforce as well as older people either delaying retirement or returning to work because they are needed. However, despite these trends, job openings remain unfilled.
“I see this number as a test case for the country as they experiment with the new regulations and the integration of foreigners into Japanese society. If these people can fit in, then perhaps the rules will be relaxed further in the future and more foreigners can come with their families,” said Schulz.
Japanese Businesses Welcome Changes
In a press conference after the new visa program was launched, Nobuyoshi Aoyama, a senior official at the Japan Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said: “We appreciate the new system as it tackles the labor shortage issue.”
He said it was vital for the country to implement the smooth integration of foreigners into workplaces and communities.
Certain industries such as convenience stores are desperate for more people. Shop owners are working long hours to keep their doors open and meet the requirements of their franchise agreements. An influx of workers will take pressure of business owners and provide opportunities for foreign workers.