Japan enacts legislation on foreign worker training


The Diet Building in Chiyoda Ward, Tokyo, Japan. - Yomiuri Shimbun File photo

TOKYO: Japan’s parliament enacted legislation on Friday (June 14) to create a new skill development programme for foreign workers to ease serious labour shortages in the country.

The government plans to introduce the program as early as 2027 to replace the current technical intern training scheme for foreigners.

The House of Councillors, the parliament’s upper chamber, approved the legislation to amend laws, including the immigration control and refugee recognition law, with support mainly from the ruling coalition.

The new programme is designed to train unskilled foreign workers for three years to help them obtain Type 1 residency status, which allows them to work in Japan for up to five years.

Those who acquire Type 2 status, granted to highly skilled foreign workers, are effectively allowed to live in Japan permanently and bring family members to the country.

The current intern programme, introduced as part of efforts to help transfer Japanese technologies to developing countries, has been criticised as a hotbed for abuse of trainees.

The new programme allows foreign workers to change their employers after one to two years of employment only within the same job category.

Organisations in charge of overseeing employers of foreign workers are required to appoint outside auditors to ensure their independence and neutrality.

The government is allowed to revoke permanent residence permits of foreigners who intentionally fail to pay taxes, a move designed to address an expected increase in foreigners who stay in Japan for long periods after the new programme is introduced. - The Japan News/ANN

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