Japan Looks to Accept More Foreign Workers in 2022

Just in case you're googling "how to migrate to..."

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(SPOT.ph) With all the headlines we're seeing lately, you probably can't help but Google "how to migrate to [anywhere]." If you're looking to move somewhere with four seasons, Japan is allowing foreigners in certain blue-collar jobs to stay in the country indefinitely starting 2022. According to Reuters, this was announced by a justice ministry official on Thursday, November 18.


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What you should know about the changes to Japan immigration policies:

Japan has always been hesistant about easing immigration polices, but labor shortage and dwindling population is pushing the country to look elsewhere for their workforce. Under a law introduced in April 2019, foreigners whose jobs require "considerable knowledge of or experience" in "Specified Industry Fields" are called "Specified Skilled Workers." This status is "aimed at addressing the serious labor shorage in Japan by accepting experienced foreign human resources with specific expertise and skills." It was meant to attract 345,000 workers over a period of five years (or 5,750 a month), but the intake was only at 3,000 per month pre-pandemic.

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Specified Skill Workers renew their status of residence periodically under the 2019 law; they are also not allowed to stay in Japan for a maximum of five years. Current law does not permit them to bring family members to the country. Industries where this rule applies include nursing care, welding, construction, aircraft maintenance, restaurant and hospitality services, farming, and other blue-collar work.


A major shift in policy, however, means that they would be allowed to renew their visas indefinitely and bring their families with them. Government spokesperson Hirokazu Matsuno clarified that this would not mean automatic permanent residence status, which requires a separate application.

"As the shrinking population becomes a more serious problem and if Japan wants to be seen as a good option for overseas workers, it needs to communicate that it has the proper structure in place to welcome them," Toshihiro Menju, managing director of think tank Japan Center for International Exchange, told Reuters.

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