Japanese Government Expands Work Opportunities for Foreigners

Work Opportunities for Foreigners

The government of Japan has announced new measures to offer support for foreign students who wish to work in the country, and create an environment in which international students in Japan can find work more easily.

To make it easier for students to find a job in Japan, the government is implementing a system which will permit foreign nationals to stay in the country if there is a gap between the end of their studies and the start of employment, as well as to encourage them to undertake internships in Japan.

The initiative also aims to expand the number of foreign citizens who can take a test to obtain one of the new types of work visas for Japan, which have recently been introduced to combat labor shortages in the country.

The new measures to allow foreign students to find jobs in Japan were adopted in December 2019 during a ministerial meeting held at the Prime Minister’s Office in Tokyo.

The Japanese government is planning to hold briefing sessions at a consultation center for foreigners in early 2020, in order share further information about the recruitment of international students.

Who Is Eligible to Take the Japan Work Visa Test?

The move to allow international students to remain in Japan to seek work follows the recent introduction of other measures to ease labor shortages in the country, including the relaxation of visa requirements for Pakistani students wishing to work in Japan.

The need to attract labor from international markets has also led to the introduction of tests for Japanese work visas for both skilled and unskilled foreign workers.

Besides facilitating jobseeker opportunities for foreign students in Japan, the Japanese government has also decided to expand the range of eligible applicants who can take the tests for the new work visa program.

Previously, only mid-term and long-term foreign residents in Japan were eligible to take the work visa tests. However, the government has revealed that short-term visitors to the country for purposes of tourism and business will now be able to take the tests during their stay.

This means that foreign citizens who visit the country with the upcoming tourist eVisa for Japan will be able to take a visa test to measure eligibility to live and work in Japan.

Requirements for a Japan Work Visa Test for Foreigners

The new measures mean that foreign citizens in Japan on another type of Japanese visa, such as a study or a tourist visa, are eligible to take a test for a work visa during their stay in the country.

Although it is expected to be available through a simple online applicatiion form in the near future, at the moment it is necessary to complete a work visa test in person at a Japanese embassy or consulate.

In order to be considered for a working visa, applicants are required to:

  • Obtain sponsorship from a Japanese company in the the sector in which they wish to work.
  • Pass an exam to prove sufficient understanding of the Japanese language.

There are two types of new work visa for Japan designed to attract foreign workers to the country:

  • A work visa for highly skilled workers with in-demand skills, who are also able to bring family members to Japan if they meet certain criteria.
  • A work visa for blue collar workers who wish to find employment in sectors such as the hospitality, construction, and agriculture industries

Both types of visa allow allow foreign workers to undertake unemployment in Japan for up to 5 years, with the possibility of a renewal once the visa expires.

Benefits of the New Japan Work Visa Policy for Foreigners

Both the the introduction of the scheme to allow graduating students to find work and the expansion of the work visas tests to short-term visitors are designed to attract both skilled and unskilled workers to stay in Japan to boost Japanese industry.

The government is hoping that both these measures will help to ease the labor shortages affecting the country. Although an increasing number of women and older people past retirement age thave been taking on roles in Japanese industry lately, the native workforce is still struggling to meet demand.

In particular, it is hoped that a large number of foreign workers from the construction sector will be enticed to work in Japan ahead to contribute to the extensive preparations for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.

So far, around 1,019 work visas for Japan have been issued to foreign citizens under the new program. However, it is estimated that Japan will need to reach the target of 50, 0000 issued work visas within the first year of the scheme, and 350, 000 issued visas within the next 5 years to meet the needs of the local economy.