Vietnamese take advantage of Japan's new skilled worker visa

By Minh Nga   November 15, 2019 | 06:49 pm PT
Vietnamese take advantage of Japan's new skilled worker visa
A Vietnamese worker at a mechanics factory in Japan. Photo by Vietnam News Agency.
Vietnamese account for the largest number of new skilled worker visas introduced in April, Japan's immigration agency said.

The new visa policy introduced to ease Japan's labor shortage had taken in 219 foreigners as of the end of September, with Vietnamese accounting for 93, Indonesians for 33, Filipinos 27, and Thais 23, the Immigration Services Agency said.

The Specified Skilled Worker visa allows holders to work in Japan without a professional qualification.

Before its introduction, all foreign workers were required to have specific qualifications such as an academic degree, special skill or work experience, meaning unskilled workers could not get a visa.

The new visa allows foreigners to work for up to five years in 14 sectors: caregiving, building cleaning management, machine parts and tooling, industrial machinery, electrical, electronics and information, construction, automobile repair and maintenance, aviation, hospitality, agriculture, fisheries and aquaculture, food services, and food and beverages.

Proficient workers in the construction and shipbuilding industries can extend their stay by earning the No.2 status, which allows them to bring in family members and renew their visas any number of times.

Japan's aging population and low birthrate has caused a severe labor shortage.

The number of Vietnamese in Japan jumped by 26.1 percent last year to 330,835, or 8 percent of all foreign nationals, to make them the third largest ethnic group behind Chinese and South Koreans, the Japan Times reported in March.

The growing presence of Japanese companies in Vietnam has sparked interest among younger Vietnamese in getting technical training in Japan, the report said.

The Immigration Services Agency said Vietnamese overtook Chinese as the largest group of technical trainees last year after increasing by 30 percent to 164,499.

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