The Japanese parliament on Saturday adopted legislative amendments that, for the first time in post-war history, effectively lifted the ban on the use of foreign workers in the country.
The new amendments, voted by the ruling coalition led by the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) of the country, will take effect from April next year when the new fiscal year begins in the country.
Work permits in the country are issued to highly qualified foreign specialists only in an extremely narrow circle of areas – for example, researchers and teachers, musicians, and sports trainers. The use of foreigners in the field of manual labour is in principle prohibited, although in this area there have recently been allowed mitigation in the form of a limited invitation to so-called trainees from developing countries.
Now the government intends to introduce a new system of relatively widespread employment of immigrant workers. They are going to use them in about 14 sectors of the economy, where there is a growing shortage of workers. This is, first of all, construction, agriculture, care for the sick and the elderly, shipbuilding.
Foreigners with sufficient knowledge of Japanese are expected to issue long-term visas for up to five years without the right to bring their families to Japan. Even more qualified foreign workers will be allowed to extend visas for an unlimited period of time, up to and including obtaining a permanent residence permit. Representatives of this category will receive the right to invite their families to Japan.