Japan has enacted a new immigration law to accept 3.45 lakh overseas workers. This is a major shift in policy for the nation. It is aimed at easing the shortage of workers being faced by its labor market.
Immigration has been a taboo in Japan for many years now. Majority of its residents treasure the ethnic homogeneity of the nation. However, the aging and shrinking population has enhanced pressure to relax curbs on the overseas workers.
The legislation enacting the new immigration rule has been approved by the Upper House of the Japanese Parliament. This was after several delaying tactics by the opposition parties. It creates 2 new streams of Japan Visas for blue-collar workers. This is for sectors in Japan facing scarcity of workers and will be effective from April 2019, as quoted by the SBS.
The first stream of Visas is for overseas workers who can reside for up to 5 years in Japan. They are not allowed to bring over their family members. The second stream is for more skilled overseas workers. They can bring their family members and could eventually qualify for PR.
The Government of Japan has said that 345, 150 blue-collar workers will be accepted in 5 years. Originally, a figure of 500,000 was under its consideration.
Shinzo Abe the Prime Minister of Japan is keen to take action in response to business demands. The businesses in Japan are facing the toughest labor market in 4 decades. He is also cautious of the conservatives in his party who could be angered. These fear that more foreigners will also imply an increase in cultural clashes and crime.
Abe has thus insisted that the fresh rules do not add up as a policy for immigration. He has, on the other hand, highlighted the need to cater to the gaps in the labor market.
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