Japan Eyes New Resident Status For Foreign Workers

Japan eyes new resident status for foreign workers

The Japanese government may grant visas that allow highly skilled foreign workers to live with their family members without a specific limit on duration. The proposed measure is part of its efforts to ease the nation's labor shortage.

The government compiled the outline of draft legal revisions designed for the acceptance of more foreign professionals from next April. It will submit the proposals to a Diet session to be convened late this month.

The government plans to create 2 new types of residence status for foreign workers.

The first type would cover foreigners possessing skills requiring certain levels of expertise or experience. The government would allow them to stay in Japan for up to 5 years.

The second type would apply to highly skilled foreigners, granting them residence status without limit on duration. The government would also allow their family members to accompany them although they need to clear a screening every few years.

The government is studying more than 10 sectors, including nursing care and agriculture, as possible areas to accept a greater number of foreign professionals under the new system.

Foreigners would need to pass exams, such as skill tests, to qualify for either of the new types of status. The government plans to provide support for those with the first type of residence status so that they can improve their proficiency in the Japanese language.

It will ask companies and other entities to ensure that wages for such foreigners are at least the same as those paid to their Japanese counterparts.