Dirty dozen: Vietnamese firms blacklisted for faking students’ Japanese proficiency

By Nguyen Quy   November 11, 2018 | 05:13 pm PT
Dirty dozen: Vietnamese firms blacklisted for faking students’ Japanese proficiency
Around 26,000 Vietnamese were granted student visas to attend Japanese-language schools in Japan last year. Photo by Shuttershock/onephoto
Japan has blacklisted 12 Vietnamese overseas study consulting firms for faking Japanese proficiency in students’ visa applications.

The Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs has ordered that from October to March next year, its embassy in Vietnam will turn down visa applications submitted by the blacklisted companies, following suspicions they’d been forging Japanese proficiency certificates for Vietnamese students for a long time, the Mainichi newspaper reported.

Japanese authorities found that more than 10 percent of around 6,000 interviewed Vietnamese nationals who applied for student visas between March last year through September this year failed to meet required Japanese language proficiency levels.

In 2017, around 26,000 Vietnamese citizens were granted student visas to attend Japanese-language schools, second only to Chinese students, according to the Japan Student Services Organization.

In another black mark, the Vietnamese expat community has surpassed China to become the largest group of foreign criminal suspects in Japan, accounting for 30.2 percent of the total number of crimes committed by foreign nationals, according to National Police Agency data issued last year.

Of these, around 40 percent of Vietnamese criminals have been staying illegally in Japan under "student visas," and the Japanese Embassy in Vietnam suspects fraud in student visa processing.

When Japanese officials conducted face-to-face interviews with Vietnamese applicants, they found that at least one in 10 applicants was not able to understand Japanese well enough to apply for a student visa.

The ratio has climbed over 30 percent among applicants whose visa paperwork was submitted by the 12 companies now blacklisted by the Japanese government.

The Japanese Foreign Ministry has reported its findings to the Vietnamese Ministry of Education and Training, which had issued permits for those companies to process visa paperwork for applicants.

Such companies charge more than 1 million yen ($8,787) for a visa application.

Visa applicants are required to submit a certificate of eligibility for resident status issued by the Japanese Ministry of Justice. In order to obtain the certificate, applicants need to prove they have an equivalent of N5 or a higher level of competence after passing the Japanese-Language Proficiency Test.

The Vietnamese expat population in Japan increased four times from 2012-2016 to reach 232,562 last year, making it the fourth biggest minority group in the Northeast Asian country.

Vietnamese nationals also accounted for almost half of the foreign residents whose residency rights were revoked in Japan last year, the Japan Times said, citing a report from the Japanese Justice Ministry.

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