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Large-scale admission of foreign migrant workers in Japan since 2019

Release Time:2019-02-11

Wen Hui: The final plan was approved by the Cabinet meeting. The immigration policy will undergo major changes. From next year, large-scale admission of foreign migrant workers will take place.

On the 25th, a cabinet meeting of the Japanese government deliberated and approved the final plan for receiving foreign migrant workers. According to relevant data, in order to expand the scope of foreign labor, the Japanese government has decided to accept 14 Foreign labor, including nursing, construction and other industries, according to the Law on Entry-Exit Management and Refugee Recognition just passed in Congress.

The final plan adopted by the cabinet meeting on that day included the "basic principles" of new visa qualification, and the "guidelines for the application of various fields" specifying the types and numbers of foreign migrant workers in specific industries. At the same time, the final version of the "comprehensive countermeasures" for the introduction and admission of foreign migrant workers was clearly defined.

The plan clearly stipulates that a maximum of 345,000 foreign workers will be introduced in five years from April next year. It is estimated that the nursing industry ranks first and is expected to reach 60,000 people. Then came the catering industry (53,000 people) and the construction industry (40,000 people). Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said at the meeting: "We hope to establish a system and try our best to create a corresponding social environment so that foreigners can work and live in Japan."

In the past, Japan has long refused to accept foreign workers or immigrants on a large scale. Relevant survey results show that with the aging of young children in Japanese society and the long-term low birth rate, the Japanese population began to decline from around 2010. Japan's social labor gap is widening. Next year, there will be a labor gap of more than 600,000 people in Japan, and the average age of the agricultural population has exceeded 60. Japan's employment opportunities have risen in the past few years due to labor shortages and steady economic growth. Earlier this year, the unemployment rate fell to its lowest level since 1992.

Previously, the Japanese government introduced some foreign migrant workers through the system of receiving "trainees" in disguise. However, there are various problems in the system itself. It is difficult for "trainees" to integrate into the society in Japan and even to live illegally. Faced with the current situation that employment vacancies in various industries in Japan can not be filled, the Japanese government, through amending the law, is ready to formally accept foreign migrant workers, which can be said to be a major change in Japan's immigration policy.

The new law will create two new visa categories: one is to provide five-year visas for manual workers, and the other is to provide indefinite visas for highly skilled blue-collar workers. The new visa requires applicants to have basic Japanese skills. The Japanese government expects that newly opened foreign migrant workers will mainly come from neighboring countries, such as China, Indonesia, Vietnam, Thailand, the Philippines, Cambodia, Myanmar, Nepal and Mongolia.

Japanese polls show that most Japanese have serious ideas of xenophobia, mainstream public opinion opposes the admission of immigrants, only slightly more than half of the people support the admission of more foreign workers. Concerns about immigration often focus on whether foreigners can integrate into society. In order to cooperate with the acceptance of foreign migrant workers, the Japanese government plans to strengthen multilingualism in public institutions, living infrastructure and other aspects, so as to prepare for the new foreign migrant workers.

In view of the increasingly serious situation of labor shortage, not only are more and more experts and scholars calling for more foreign workers, but also the government gradually realizes that in the face of the severe situation of labor shortage, it has to open the door to absorb foreign labor.

However, in the interim parliament this autumn, the Abe government only spent 17 hours reviewing the Entry-Exit Administration and Refugee Recognition Act in order to quickly solve the problem of admitting foreign migrant workers, and took a strong stance in the voting process.

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