Deferral of language proficiency test affects Vietnamese laborers heading for Japan

By Hong Chieu   November 18, 2022 | 10:12 pm PT
Deferral of language proficiency test affects Vietnamese laborers heading for Japan
Vietnamese caregivers at a nursing home in Japan. Photo by VnExpress/DV
Trainees attending a program to export laborers to Japan are stuck in limbo after a Japanese proficiency exam was suspended until next year.

Pham Duc Vuong, deputy head of Hanoi-based Hoang Long Investment Construction and Manpower Supply JSC (Hoang Long CMS), said his company now has to put on hold its efforts in assisting 15 people that had applied for a program to work as intern caregivers in Japan.

To qualify for the program, they must obtain the Level 4 (4Q) of Japanese language NAT-Test or N4 of the Japanese-Language Proficiency Test (JLPT), with 15 trainees at Hoang Long CMS having already registered for a language test next month, though it has been postponed.

The Ministry of Education sent a circular to localities nationwide on Nov. 8, announcing that institutions organizing Chinese, Japanese, Korean and English language proficiency exams in Vietnam must suspend operations pending official permission to proceed.

The NAT-Test is organized in months of even number while the JLPT is held twice per month in July and December.

For now, the organizer of the NAT-Test said it would be suspended until next February while it is not clear when the JLPT will be resumed.

Vuong said getting the certificate is the first step in the process to work as trainees in Japan.

It takes around four months from the time the applicants gets the paper until the time they are sent to work in Japan, and with the exam postponed, the entire process will fall behind scheduled.

Though the company and laborers are worried, there is nothing they could do but wait, he said.

Nguyen Xuan Lanh, deputy director of HCMC-based Esuhai Co., Ltd, which sends around 12,000 Vietnamese laborers to Japan following the trainee program, said the sudden suspension of Japanese language proficiency exams has left a significant impact on export laborers.

He said the company usually has trainees apply for the JLPT and if the test is not organized in December, they will have to wait until next July.

Kim Hoa, who oversees recruiting laborers for a company that sends workers in the mechanical engineering industry to Japan, said 10 trainees could not get the N5 certificate though they have registered for the test.

Nguyen Gia Liem, deputy head of the Overseas Labor Management Department of the Ministry of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs, said workers going to Japan, depending on each industry and whether or not the Japanese company requires a language certificate, will be affected by the exam suspension.

Those that are not affected by the language test may continue onward to Japan.

Japan instituted the technical training internship program in 1993 to help transfer skills, technologies and knowledge to developing regions.

More than 600,000 Vietnamese work in 50 countries and territories, including 250,000 in Japan, 230,000 in Taiwan and 40,000 in South Korea.

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