Japan’s new foreign worker status to focus on 8 countries including Philippines
TOKYO — Foreigners granted a new residence status for workers with specific skills may initially be accepted primarily from eight countries, including Vietnam, the Philippines and Cambodia, according to sources.
To prevent financial exploitation by dishonest brokers, the government will seek to use bilateral agreements to strengthen cooperation with countries that send workers, the source said.
The program for workers with specific skills, which is to be launched in April, is expected to include about 120,000 to 150,000 workers who transfer from the Technical Internship Program in the five years from fiscal 2019. This would make up about 45 percent of the total available slots.
However, during deliberations in the Diet over the recently revised Immigration Control and Refugee Recognition Law, it was pointed out that dishonest brokers who make applicants pay unfair deposits or other moneys before being hired have led to the problem of trainees fleeing their workplace.
Therefore, before launching the new system, the government plans to conclude bilateral agreements with eight Asian nations that send many trainees to Japan, to protect workers’ rights among other aims.
Information regarding corrupt vendors and illegal stays would be shared between investigative authorities to make problems easier to discover. In addition to the three nations mentioned above, talks are ongoing with China, Indonesia, Thailand and Myanmar.
In a package of comprehensive policies on coexisting with foreign residents that is to be compiled by the end of the year, the government also plans to include programs to make it easier for foreigners to open bank accounts.
This was prompted by the experience of trainees who were paid less than minimum wage, but were unable to verify their salaries because they were paid in cash after being unable to open bank accounts.
The government is also considering including plans in the policy package for the creation of centralized offices in each prefecture where foreigners can seek help with issues related to daily life.
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