Japan promises to ease immigration rules

The Japanese government has pledged to offer green card to foreign skilled workers in an attempt to significantly boost its work force.

Although Japan has been traditionally against widespread immigration, the country’s government has become increasingly keen over the past couple of years to boost the number of skilled foreigners settling in the country.

A government spokesman stated that “grave effects are emerging because Japanese people alone are insufficient for the workforce.” He added that a “large increase in foreign workers is anticipated.”

The healthcare sector, particularly nursing, is one of the main areas where Japan is desperately in need of workers, while thousands of workers are also needed to assist with construction projects for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

New policies will also focus on attempting to keep international students in the country upon the completion of their course.

The country’s Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe, said yesterday that once it is introduced the new green card system will be “the fastest such system in the world.” However, he has not yet specified how he will do this. Currently, skilled workers in areas such as engineering or finance must live in Japan for at least five years before applying for permanent residency

The program for giving permanent residency to highly skilled professionals only began in 2012, and only 4,347 people have taken advantage of it through to the end of 2015. In fact, foreign workers make up slightly less than 2 per cent of Japan’s total workforce.

Article by David Fuller