Japan Eases Immigration Restrictions to Fill Chronic Care Worker Shortage

Sally Herships
October 18, 2018
Public Radio International (PRI)

“By 2040, one in three among Japan’s 111 million people is projected to be elderly, according to Japan’s National Institute of Population and Social Security Research.

In the past, Japan allowed mostly highly skilled professionals in the country. Now, due to severe labor shortages, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has ordered the government to look into new policies that would attract less skilled workers to fill additional jobs. But the government will have to go beyond simply easing employment restrictions. Even tasks like renting an apartment prove challenging for foreigners, with many landlords enforcing a ‘no-foreigners’ policy.

In addition, Japan’s complicated visa system means most unskilled workers can only stay in the country for up to five years. Under a new two-tiered visa policy, still in the planning stages, unskilled foreign workers who acquire new skills that meet Japan’s urgent labor needs would be allowed to renew their visas for five years. Those with advanced skills will be allowed to bring their families to stay in Japan with limitless five-year visa extensions.”

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Photo Credit: Sally Herships/PRI's The World

Sally Herships is a 2015 US-Japan Journalism Fellow.