Japan mulls visa test exemptions for workers
TOKYO, Dec 18, 2018, China Daily. Japan plans to exempt visa tests for educated foreigners and open 100 support centers for foreign workers, Japanese media reported, publicated the China Daily.
The government said it will consider exemptions “if applicants have attained a certain degree of professional education in their home countries”, the Japan Times reported without naming sources.
According to the report, Japan’s Health Ministry, which is in charge of making rules and conducting technical tests in the nursing care sector, is considering test exemptions mainly for graduates from nursing schools in Vietnam, the Philippines and elsewhere in Asia.
In a move to bring in overseas workers amid a shrinking and aging population, the Japanese government this month enacted a revised law that will allow approximately 345,000 workers to enter the country in the next five years.
Based on the law, people who want to work in Japan are required to pass technical and Japanese-language tests before getting a visa.
On Sunday, Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga revealed that the government will open about 100 support centers for foreign workers across Japan.
“I hope to see such support centers in all prefectures, major cities, and municipalities where a large number of foreign workers reside,” Suga said, adding that “each center will have interpreters or translation systems”.
The central government will provide about 2 billion yen ($17.6 million) to local administrations for the support centers and will make plans to ensure fast access to “housing, phone and bank services”, which have long been criticized by foreigners, the top Japanese government spokesman said.
“Japan has carried out a series of comprehensive measures ahead of the implementation of the new immigration law in April and there will be more,” said Yu Qiang, a Japanese studies researcher at the University of International Relations in Beijing. “However, these measures will only have limited effects because of the country’s long insular tradition,” Yu added, citing a Gallup survey that showed Japan’s 126 million population would grow just 1 percent if there were global freedom of movement, and its highly educated population would fall by 8 percent.
“So it seems that Japan may want migrants more than they want Japan,” Yu said.
According to this year’s IMD World Competitiveness Center ranking, Japan was 29th out of 63 countries in terms of ability to attract and develop talent.