The new visa regulation for foreign workers of Japan, which came into force last year, on April 1, 2019, has enabled 1,621 foreigners to come and work in Japan, according to the Immigration Services Agency.

The new skilled worker visa has been more likable by Vietnamese citizens who account for 910 of the visa holders, while Indonesians make a number of 189, followed by Filipinos 111, the Immigration Service Agency says.

Further, the agency points out that they “would like to step up efforts so the system is more broadly known,” VisaGuide.World reports.

The idea for the new visa regulation came as a need to bring more foreign works in Japan, to fill the job gaps and to deal with the growing problem of labor shortages in the country.

Although Japan has a strict immigration policy, such a move has been seen as needed. The law has been pushed by the governing coalition of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, in December 2018.

New regulations for a visa make possible two categories of foreign workers to work in Japan.

Unskilled foreign workers are placed in the first category, and these persons can apply for a work visa to Japan, with a validity of up to five years, but are not permitted to bring their families with them. Meanwhile, the second category is for foreigners that pass a Japanese language exam, and are allowed to bring their families with them. These persons can apply for a visa extension unlimitedly, and can eventually apply for residency in Japan.

This new law on foreign workers intends to bring 47,000 foreign workers in the first year of the visa. From both categories, they expect to bring as many as 345,000 workers within five years. 

Under the new law, companies based in Japan are obliged to grant foreign workers with wages that are at least equal to those of Japanese nationals, as a way to prevent companies from bringing cheap labor to the country.

Food and beverage production had the most visa holders at 557, out of the 14 sectors targeted with this program. On the other hand, the farming industry had 292 visa holders, followed by the industrial machinery manufacturing at 198.

The largest record of foreign workers in Japan was achieved in October, last year, when there were as many as 1,658,804 foreign workers in Japan, the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare’s pointed out last Friday through a pronouncement.

The Japanese passport is placed at the top of the Henley Passport Index Global Ranking, as its holders can visit 199 countries and regions around the world without a prior visa.

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