The cabinet approved the expansion of the skilled worker visa program, changing Japan’s historically rigid immigration policy. The plan calls for expanding the list of professions for which the visa can be used, allowing foreigners to seek permanent residency. Examinations of language and cognitive ability will be used to confirm eligibility.
An initiative to broaden the application of the skilled worker visa program for blue-collar workers has received support from Japan’s cabinet. By establishing a pathway to permanent residency for foreign workers, this fundamental change in the nation’s immigration policy seeks to address the chronic labor shortage.
The idea calls for expanding the range of businesses that the visa can be used for and requiring candidates for the recently added areas to pass language and skill tests.
Until today, the construction and shipbuilding industries were the only ones eligible for the skilled worker visa program. The Specified Skilled Worker No. 2 visa, which permits unlimited renewals and the addition of family members, is an option for competent workers in several industries.
Extending the Horizon
According to the government’s authorized proposal, the skilled worker visa program will now cover nine more industries, including those in the hotel, agriculture, and fisheries. Foreign workers with the Specified Skilled Worker No. 1 visa who work in specific fields now have the option to apply for the No. 2 visa, providing they pass the tests for technical skills and Japanese language proficiency.
Addressing the Japan Labor Shortage
To solve Japan’s ongoing labor shortage, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida underlined the significance of encouraging the easy acceptance of foreign workers. It is believed that this obstacle will be overcome through the expansion of the skilled worker visa program.
In the fall, the government intends to conduct language and skill tests for candidates in the newly added industries after seeking feedback from the public. By using an inclusive strategy, the program’s implementation will consider stakeholders’ opinions.
Several businesses have urged for the No. 2 residency status to be expanded to keep its foreign employees. The government’s choice recognizes the need to supply the labor market with competent workers in fields besides shipbuilding and construction.
Factors to Consider and Exemptions
The skilled worker visa program’s planned adjustments won’t impact people who work as caregivers. Japan already has a visa created expressly for international caregivers who have received local certification. With this visa, carers can travel with their families and receive unlimited renewals.
Japan’s move to ease its tight immigration laws by expanding the skilled worker visa program is a substantial break from the country’s previous practices. Japan wants to address its severe labor shortage by increasing the spectrum of businesses covered by the visa and making it easier for foreign employees to get permanent residency. This would pave the way for economic development and prosperity while also recognizing the vital contributions that foreign employees may make to the Japanese labor force.