national

Gov't announces stricter requirements for foreigner student visas

12 Comments
By Casey Baseel, SoraNws24

Over the last decade, there’s been a surge in the number of Japanese language schools in Japan. According to the Ministry of Justice, the country now has 711 dedicated language schools (as opposed to universities or trade schools that also offer Japanese lessons), which is 1.8 times as many as there were in 2008.

Obviously, all those new schools couldn’t exist without a growing number of students, too. However, the Japanese government is concerned about whether or not what those ostensible students are doing in Japan actually qualifies as studying.

Foreigners in Japan on a student visa are allowed to work up 28 hours a week. That limit is bumped up to eight hours a day during school vacation periods. Meanwhile, to maintain a long-term language student visa, students must meet certain class-time requirements. Under the current law one criteria is the completion of at least 760 units over the course of one year (one unit being defined as 45 minutes of in-class instruction).

However, some schools also offer short-term intensive courses with a an especially high number of class hours each week. By enrolling in these programs, some students are able to meet their yearly 760-unit requirement in as little as six months. With their visa secure, some of them enroll in no other courses for the year and switch over to working eight hours a day until the next year, meaning that they’re essentially spending as much time working in full-time positions as they are studying Japanese, blurring the line as to whether they’re in Japan for education or employment.

But as of October, the Japanese government aims to close that loophole. That’s when a new set of regulations goes into effect, and from then on language school students will be required to be enrolled in classes for at least 35 weeks out of the year.

“We are making these adjustments to return language schools to their original purpose,”a Ministry of Justice spokesperson said, “as a place where students enroll so that they can learn the language.”

The Ministry of Justice isn’t laying all responsibility for the unwanted situation on the students themselves, however. It’s also criticized language schools that promote their intensive programs, either openly or implicitly, as a way to have a full-time job in Japan without a work visa. The ministry is also addressing the possibility that some language schools might be acting primarily as visa providers and failing to provide their students with proper instruction. The new regulations also include stricter rules for school operators, such as requiring the hiring of additional staff is a single person is acting as director of multiple schools.

Sources: Yahoo! Japan News/Asahi Shimbun Digital

Read more stories from SoraNews24.

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-- Japanese government awards its first-ever working visas to foreign professional gamers

-- Students at new online high school in Japan make anime-style avatars for virtual campus

© SoraNews24

©2018 GPlusMedia Inc.

12 Comments
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I call BS on these ministries, for crying out loud the supposed language schools are simply another work around to get CHEAP LABOUR!!

Govt knows this, schools KNOW this, students KNOW this & then they all collectively PRENTEND otherwise LOL!!

Its all about cheap labour!!! Nothing to see here folks, move along now!

12 ( +14 / -2 )

Doesn't Japan have a labour shortage??? Also language learning on the job is just as good as studying so this would improve their experiences.

Are too many people learning Japanese? If they want to pass laws about reducing exploitation that would be a first as well

Instructions unclear, learning Japanese without permission

9 ( +11 / -2 )

If you make these stricter requirements, half of the convenience stores in Shinjuku will have to close because of the lack of employees. Also, by working, the students get to use Japanese in real life situations, which is good for the development of their Japanese. And the students I've talked to at the convenience stores or electronics shops speak very good Japanese. I thought this is a back door immigration strategy. These students speak Japanese and show that they can work in a Japanese work environment (I know some want to return home and work for Japanese companies). As long as the students want to do this, OK, but their should be laws to prevent the students from being exploited.

8 ( +11 / -3 )

Several people, including me, are reporting problems and holdups at immigration these days. I saw a thread on Facebook about how foreign people who have never had any problems in the past are now for the first time are getting delayed and asked to provide extra documents etc., for their visa renewals.

The beefed up and stricter procedures seem to be a new overall approach.

8 ( +10 / -2 )

Ganbare Japan, and you think that cashing is the unique task inside convenience stores? probably is the 10% of what they do inside.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

“We are making these adjustments to return language schools to their original purpose,”a Ministry of Justice spokesperson said, “as a place where students enroll so that they can learn the language.”

Wow, imagine if they did that with regular schools instead of leaving it to juku schools to educate the children of Japan today. School is now just a place they sleep and goof off in, then go to study at cram schools for half their lives.

In any case, I'm all for ensuring people who come on student visas go to classes more over a spread out period of time in order to learn, but that's not what this is about. It's about ensuring schools get their payday, because I know for a fact the government isn't about to crackdown on illegal overtime or companies hiring foreigners illegally to do the jobs Japanese don't want to do, at a fraction of the price.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Not true. Please read the excellent article on JT about many businesses now using robots to serve customers. Combinis will follow suit.

Robots are not the answer to everything, it costs more to purchase and maintain a robot than hire a human, not to mention that in a convenience store robots can not provide adequate customer service.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

I'm sorry. Could you please repeat? Press 1 for... ;)=

3 ( +4 / -1 )

@Yubari. A Japanese friend of mine who owns a tofu shop went bankrupt when his $1.5 million machine broke.

but, I learnt a little bit of Nepalese when I last went to Nagoya and chatted to combini staff.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

This country is dying for workers. Some students are obliging. Now the government is giving these young students a hard time using visa problems as excuses. Who’s benefiting from giving students a hard time? Other than some bureaucrats looking for a promotion, no one else.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Cheap labor. No need to get Nepalese, Indian or whatever nationality by millions to be exploited and replace Japanese for no good reason.

My country is dying of that. And no, they don't all speak well the language. Some do but not a criteria for their visa.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

If you make these stricter requirements, half of the convenience stores in Shinjuku will have to close because of the lack of employees. 

Not true. Please read the excellent article on JT about many businesses now using robots to serve customers. Combinis will follow suit.

https://japantoday.com/category/features/travel/robotel-japan-hotel-staffed-by-robot-dinosaurs

-24 ( +1 / -25 )

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