Vietnamese workers could stay in Japan indefinitely

By Dat Nguyen   November 19, 2021 | 03:45 am PT
Vietnamese workers could stay in Japan indefinitely
Passengers wait at Noi Bai International Airport in Hanoi to board a flight to Japan's Tokyo, September 19, 2020. Photo by VnExpress/Giang Huy
Vietnamese workers could remain in Japan indefinitely as the latter ponders changing its policy by eliminating a five-year cap on foreign residency.

Under the existing program created in 2019 to serve 14 understaffed sectors, including manufacturing and janitorial work, foreign nationals with experience but without special training are permitted to work in Japan for up to five years, and they are not allowed to bring their families, according to Nikkei.

But two sectors with consistent labor shortages, construction and shipbuilding, are allowed to let skilled laborers renew their visas indefinitely and bring their families.

Now, Japan will open this more privileged category to the rest of the 14 sectors, effectively eliminating the five-year cap, Nikkei stated, citing sources familiar with the matter.

Those who have lived in Japan for 10 years will also meet a requirement for obtaining permanent residency, the report added.

Asked about the Nikkei study, Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno told a news conference the government is now "considering" the matter, but noted that any change means making renewal of visas possible, but not outright permanent residency, The Japan Times reported.

Japan had 1.72 million foreign workers in October 2020, according to government data.

Vietnamese account for the largest foreign worker population there with around 440,000 people, or nearly 26 percent of the total.

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