While Japan is generally not considered an easy country for Filipinos to migrate to, the Japanese government seeks to ease the restrictions that have made their companies reluctant to employ foreign skilled workers in the past.
On 18 Nov 2021, Japanese officials said that they are hoping to allow more foreign workers in blue-collar jobs to stay indefinitely in Japan as early as the 2022 fiscal year. This could be a significant turning point for the country, which has been known to have strict attitudes on immigration.
Why Japan is looking to foreign skilled workers to fill up its labour shortage in 2022
As Japan faces a labour shortage due to their ageing population, there is mounting pressure on the government to open up borders to foreign workers. In 2021, The Japan Times reported that Japan’s population had decreased by 483,789 from the previous year; this is the country’s steepest population drop since 2013.
Under a government program implemented in 2019, foreign skilled workers in sought-after fields — namely construction and shipbuilding — had been allowed to work and stay for up to five years in Japan. However, they cannot bring their families with them.
According to Nikkei Asia, the Japanese government is planning to expand the category of workers to a total of 14 sectors, which include agriculture, food and beverage manufacturing, nursing, and electronics, just to name a few.
If policy change takes effect, it could lead to more opportunities for skilled Filipino workers to work and live in Japan in the long-term, as well as “renew their visas indefinitely and bring their families with them,” according to Reuters.
However, Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno clarifies that this does not automatically guarantee permanent residency status to foreign skilled workers, a procedure that requires a different application process.
Who can apply as a Specified Skill Worker (SSW) in Japan?
The category of “Specified Skilled Workers” (SSW) refers to a status of residence applicable to foreign nationals who work in jobs that require proficiency in certain fields in Japan.
Japan is looking for foreign skilled workers with experience in the following industries:
- Accommodation Industry
- Automobile Repair and Maintenance
- Building Cleaning Management
- Electric, Electronics, and Information Industries
- Fishery and Aquaculture Industries
- Food and Beverage Manufacturing
- Food Service Industry
- Industrial Machinery
- Machine Parts and Tooling Industries
- Nursing Care
- Shipbuilding and Ship Machinery
According to the official website of Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, “Those who can work in Japan as a SSW must be over 18 years old in good health.” Furthermore, they should have “the necessary occupational skills and Japanese language ability to work immediately.”
Check out Japan’s requirements and the complete list of industries for Specified Skill Workers here.
Do you think you have what it takes to work in Japan? Be sure to visit the official websites of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan and the Embassy of Japan in the Philippines for more information.
Featured image credit: sara_winter via Canva Pro