Japan to ease immigration rules to plug labour shortage

Government of Japan has passed a draft legislation to ease immigration rules for allowing more blue-collar workers in the country in a move to deal with acute labour shortages. The new legislation will create two new visa categories for foreigners where it was highly difficult for workers to find staff in various industries where it has become highly difficult to find workers.

The new law will include farming and construction of hotels, nursing care and dozen other sectors. This is a monumental shift as Japan has always maintained stringent immigration policy which has limited the intake of foreigners. However, the country is battling with aging population which has put many businesses under stress in decades.

Parliament is most likely to adopt the revised guidelines, specially in the face of increased pressure from industry. Although, no figure has been stated officially, but media has stated nearly 500,000 blue-collar workers could be allowed. Presently, 1.28 million foreign workers are working in Japan comprising 2 percent of workforce. Workers applying for first category of visa should have certain level of skills and ability of Japanese language. Those applying for the second category will have to possess more advanced skills and can bring their families and thus get residency.

Japan has accepted foreign labour with the prime focus on professionals and highly-skilled workers.

Many legislators have also expressed concerns about crime and other potential effect on worker wages.



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