Japan to accept more foreign workers in new immigration rules

TOKYO, Oct. 13 ― The Japanese government has unveiled a plan to accept more foreign blue-collar workers in April next year to tackle the labor shortage in agriculture and some other industries in the face of the country’s aging population.

This is a drastic move for Japan, which is known for its strict immigration rules.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe held a cabinet meeting on Oct. 12 to outline the draft legislation. Under the draft, foreign nationals with skills in sectors identified as facing labor shortage will be granted a new visa status.

The new visa status has two different types of work permit.

Type One will allows foreign workers with considerable levels of work skills and experience as well as Japanese language knowledge to work for up to five years in Japan. But they are not allowed to accompany their families.

Type Two will allow skilled foreign workers who passed required exams to accompany with their families for an indefinite period.

Japan’s parliament is set to deliberate the legislation in its extraordinary session that starts from Oct. 24. This is the first session since Abe’s reelection for a third term as leader of the governing Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and his cabinet reshuffle.

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