On Tuesday the immigration agency said that it will open up the business sectors foreigners are allowed to work in after graduating from universities or completing postgraduate studies in Japan, in the latest effort to lure more laborers to the country.
Under a revised Justice Ministry notification, to take effect Thursday, foreign graduates will become able to work at restaurants, retail shops and factory production lines under the “Designated Activities” status of residence.
According to the Immigration Services Agency, Up to now, such graduates have usually acquired the “Engineer/Specialist in Humanities/International Services” visa to work in jobs such as engineers and accountants.
The status has not permitted work in the services sector and at factories on the grounds that they are irrelevant to their expertise. Therefore, the agency has decided to add such jobs to the list of activities allowed to engage in by the holders of the Designated Activities visa.
Under the plan, the revised Designated Activities visa will be issued on condition that the students will be ensured full-time employment and equal or higher payment compared with Japanese colleagues. They must also have a high level of Japanese language proficiency.
Prior to the change, the Designated Activities visa has been issued to people including those serving as household employees for diplomats.
The latest move comes as Japanese companies are seeking to hire foreigners with high Japanese language ability on the back of the growth in the number of foreign tourists to the country.
The agency believes that the expanded job opportunities will boost the number of foreign workers by thousands annually.
Japan is stepping up efforts to bring in more workers from abroad to cope with a chronic labor shortage due to the country’s rapidly graying population and declining birth-rate, with new visa statuses introduced in the country last month to bring in blue-collar workers to labor-hungry sectors.