The Japanese government has just approved a draft amendment to establish two new statuses of residence that would expand acceptance of foreign workers to Japan in 14 industries experiencing serious labor shortages, up from the five that were originally proposed.
The revision would also expand the scope of the Immigration Bureau’s administrative reach by elevating it to an agency, to be called the “Immigration and Residence Agency” (Shutsunyuukoku Zairyu Chou, 出入国在管理庁).
The draft amendment to the Immigration Control Act was passed by the Legal Affairs Committee of the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) on October 29th, and the government will submit a revision bill to the extraordinary Diet session to implement the new residency visa status next spring. The government aims to have the amendment formally approved by the Cabinet on November 2nd.
However, as there are a number of unresolved points regarding the scope of implementation and effects on societal security and stability, the Committee also made a resolution for the party to coordinate with the government on concrete measures for carrying out implementation.
The revision would establish two new statuses of residence:
- Specified Skills No. 1 (特定技能１号)
- Eligible with certain level of knowledge/skills in specified industries.
- Cannot bring family members.
- Maximum stay up to five years.
- Specified Skills No. 2 (特定技能2号)
- Eligible with higher level of specialization.
- Can bring family members.
- Possible to renew visa.
- For details, please see this article: New Specified Skills Residency Visa: What You Need to Know
14 industries under consideration
The specific fields that qualify for the new residency statuses will jointly be decided by the Ministry of Justice and the ministry responsible for the particular industry. Below are the fourteen industries under consideration, significantly more than the original five floated when the government announced in May that it would seek a new residency status to increase the number of foreign workers in Japan.
Ministry of Health, Labour & Welfare
1. Nursing care
2. Building cleaning
Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and FisheriesAgriculture
4. Fishing industry
5. Food & drink manufacturing (including seafood processing)
6. Restaurant (food and drink service)
Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry
7. Materials industry
8. Industrial machinery industry
9. Electronics and electrical equipment industry
Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism
11. Ship building/Marine industry
12. Car maintenance
13. Aviation (Airport ground handling, aircraft maintenance)
Concerns by Lawmakers
The Legal Affairs Committee debated the draft amendment for 3.5 hours, with members expressing concern regarding a number of points, including the lack of an upper limit on the length of stay for the “Specified Skills No. 2” residence status.
The Welfare and Labour Sub-Committee also weighed in, calling on a resolution to ensure appropriate working conditions, health and safety, and fair treatment of workers; measures to prevent the misuse of health insurance, and ensuring that workers pay their social insurance premiums.
Source: Mainichi Shinbun digital edition, October 29, 2018
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