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Japan's new working visa acquired by only 219 foreigners in first 6 months

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I expected this.

15 ( +16 / -1 )

With low salaries, high taxes and terrible working conditions it should be no surprise the amount of applicants are low.

30 ( +33 / -3 )

With low salaries, high taxes and terrible working conditions it should be no surprise the amount of applicants are low.

Spot on.

19 ( +21 / -2 )

Perhaps the system was designed to attract only those who are desperate, so that they will be happy to receive minimum pay under those terrible working conditions because it's still better than what they had at home

22 ( +22 / -0 )

Why won’t foreigners come to Japan?

Better start developing those robots quick!

14 ( +16 / -2 )

fall short of the maximum 47,550 foreigners expected to acquire the visa by March 2020

How was this not predicted? Most highly skilled laborers prefer to venture into other parts of the world. Each year your income falls, low amounts of vacation days, below market salaries, and the Ghosn cloud that hangs over Japan.

20 ( +21 / -1 )

they fall short of the maximum 47,550 foreigners expected to acquire the visa by March 2020.

I wonder who came up with that number? I wonder which other numbers are wildly exaggerated?

12 ( +12 / -0 )

What a joke.

11 ( +11 / -0 )

"Acquired by" OR "Granted to" ?

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Better off working illegally, no tax, cash in hand.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

In order to qualify for the Specified Skilled Worker visa, an applicant must pass a skills exams and Japanese language test or have gone through Japan's technical intern program for at least three years.

According to the Immigration Services Agency, 176 of the 219 foreigners with the new resident status used the latter method to acquire the new visa, which was introduced as part of Japan's efforts to cope with a chronic labor shortage due to its rapidly graying population and declining birthrate.

So, beyond the headline figures, which are bad enough, more than 75% of the people that obtained these visas were ALREADY in Japan via the technical intern program.

So, basically, the vast majority of these individuals took advantage of it to upgrade from the horrendous technical intern program.

What this means is that net, only 40+ NEW foreigners came to Japan under this program. Pretty shocking, but not unsurprising!

13 ( +13 / -0 )

I work for a company in Japan making robots to replace humans. This is the future, like it or not. Japan is not willing to pay decent wages plus offer good working conditions. Hell, not even most Japanese have these things! No way are the Japanese going to offer better conditions to foreigners ahead of native Japanese.

12 ( +13 / -1 )

...houston we have a problem...

6 ( +6 / -0 )

When the system is unworkable, quick, think of a get-out clause that we can all gather behind! Wait, oh, yes, there were not enough application test sites.

Solution. Next year increase the number of test sites abroad.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

(1) There is not much "skilled work" you can do in Japan if you cannot speak, read, and write Japanese.

(2) There is an assumption here that "skilled workers" could go to other countries with better pay, better working conditions, and lower taxes.

Would someone asserting this, please list those other countries?

In fact, very few countries accept skilled blue collar workers. Further, skilled blue collar jobs typically require that you have a license for your skill.

Britain, for example, has many foreign skilled blue collar workers, but only from the EU because the EU guarantees freedom of movement.

(3) If wages are low, working conditions are terrible, and taxes horrendous, why is it the Japan seems to have no trouble attracting an endless supply of English conversation teachers? (English conversation teachers has been treated as de facto skilled workers for visa purposes.)

(4) I get the impression that people commenting here have read nothing about the pay, work environment, and taxation of immigrant workers in other countries.

As soon as you make comments about something in Japan being high, low, good, bad, that is inherently a comparison with something. That something should be read data about the immigrant worker situation in other countries.

-13 ( +3 / -16 )

Or maybe japan is not that desirable a place after all.

Unskilled workers from poor backgrounds are attracted to any developed nation. Don't let the (relatively small) number of those confuse you that japan is such an enviable place everyone wants desperately to migrate to.

I'm sure any skilled worker with no pre-existing attachments to Japan will weigh up the package and quality of life offered by multiple countries and choose the best one.

9 ( +10 / -1 )

(3) If wages are low, working conditions are terrible, and taxes horrendous, why is it the Japan seems to have no trouble attracting an endless supply of English conversation teachers?

Because such people cannot make it in their home countries, so they come to Japan because they think life will be better.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

@No Business

Precisely what I was thinking.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

To some, the idea of working in Japan would be a dream come true! But when actually working here, they see that the grass isn't even green on the other side. Others get word of the real truth of working conditions, taxes and microscopic pocket dust some call pay, this is the result.

10 ( +10 / -0 )

The conditions required by the new system are so outrageous I cannot figure out if the people who came up with them are really that clueless about ordinary human reality or just intended the thing to fail all along.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

With the requirement and conditions for the Visa I did not expect anyone will apply. So 219 is a huge success.

9 ( +9 / -0 )

CSToday  

10:04 am JST

Why would anyone want to live and work in Japan is beyond me

To live the otaku lifestyle... if you’re otaku.

Yes there are people with IT & computer science degrees who would love to live near Akihabara in order to go get their daily fix of anime/manga/erogame/AV while being served by a kawaii neesan in a maid cafe.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

^ I mean foreigners with IT & computer science degree with affinity to Japanese otaku lifestyle.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Yes Japan is a great holiday destination, but this articles helps to prove that Japan is currently not an attractive or appealing country for foreign workers (unless you're into Otaku).

So many things need to change to make an attractive offer, but I feel the required changes (higher pay, better working conditions and simpler visa process) will never happen.

Plus I also think that there is systemic reluctance to admit more pesky foreigners. Sadly, I feel the 'New Visa System' is just not enough to entice skilled foreign workers.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

Just have one and be good at it.

I think Japan should do away with any Visa where they cannot effectively control it -  the "Training" visa  was and still abused by JP companies as cheap source of labor, the Student visa is abused by JP "language schools" and foreign students as cover up for part time employment. Now they introduce another Working Visa without proper framework and ignoring how they failed on the existing two.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Marshall SaintsToday 10:10 am JSTThe conditions required by the new system are so outrageous I cannot figure out if the people who came up with them are really that clueless about ordinary human reality or just intended the thing to fail all along.

 I have observed this to be true, where Japanese policies are too intricate and complex, one will eventually give up - know that it was designed that way.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

In order to qualify for the Specified Skilled Worker visa, an applicant must pass a skills exams and Japanese language test or have gone through Japan's technical intern program for at least three years.

A graded points system evaluating and including other skills is the competition here. I don't think more test centres will help. Canada's Federal Skilled Worker Program gives points for the following and you get a pass with 67/100 points. There are tips to help you get over the hurtles if you fall below 67pts.

*Language skills points

*Education points

*Work experience points

*Age points

*Arranged employment in Canada points

*Adaptability points

https://www.canada.ca/en/immigration-refugees-citizenship/services/immigrate-canada/express-entry/eligibility/federal-skilled-workers/six-selection-factors-federal-skilled-workers.html

4 ( +4 / -0 )

 I have observed this to be true, where Japanese policies are too intricate and complex, one will eventually give up - know that it was designed that way.

Sometimes it misses it's intended target due too intricate and complex. Back in 2013 when they launched High Skilled Professional, that also missed their target.

https://japantoday.com/category/business/no-of-highly-skilled-foreign-professionals-in-japan-remains-low

3 ( +3 / -0 )

(1) There is not much "skilled work" you can do in Japan if you cannot speak, read, and write Japanese.

(2) There is an assumption here that "skilled workers" could go to other countries with better pay, better working conditions, and lower taxes.

Well take look on Middle east countries, HK, Taiwan and Singapore. Working condition is no that better though but at least they pay overtime. They have less strict language requirement.

3) If wages are low, working conditions are terrible, and taxes horrendous, why is it the Japan seems to have no trouble attracting an endless supply of English conversation teachers? (English conversation teachers has been treated as de facto skilled workers for visa purposes.)

Because most of those English teachers, who work with that terrible condition with low pay are young people that interested to work in Japan no matter what.

After they grow up little bit older, they know those pay check is not sufficient. Still there are plenty people who willing to replace their position in the future.

4) I get the impression that people commenting here have read nothing about the pay, work environment, and taxation of immigrant workers in other countries.

These people Skilled Worker visa, only limited in Japan for 5 years but they being charged with pension anyway.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

They only got 219 from their target 47,550 that's only 0.4% and not even one percent! 

While Japan expect to bring in total 345,000 for next five years.

In order to qualify for the Specified Skilled Worker visa, an applicant must pass a skills exams and Japanese language test or have gone through Japan's technical intern program for at least three years.

So these people have good Japanese language skill and worked as "trainee" before. Even they might get little bit more in term of salary compared if they worked in their home country. Being trainee they know hardship they got, no-paid overtime and no holiday. Also salary that being promised not necessarily salary they'll actually get being cut for various tax, various insurance, pension after living cost. What they got finally is not worth all hardship they endure in Japan.

The Specified Skilled Worker No. 1 resident status allows foreigners to work in 14 sectors for up to five years in total. Proficient workers in the construction and shipbuilding fields can further extend their stay by earning the No. 2 status, which allows holders to bring in family members and has no limit on the number of times they can renew their visas.

Unless they worked in specific industries, most of them only will allow to stay in Japan for five years.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Test only held in 6 countries?

Did they choose only the "safer" countries?

3 ( +3 / -0 )

@Henny Penny - (3) If wages are low, working conditions are terrible, and taxes horrendous, why is it the Japan seems to have no trouble attracting an endless supply of English conversation teachers? (English conversation teachers has been treated as de facto skilled workers for visa purposes.)

Where have you been for the last twenty years? I’ve been in Japan teaching English. In that time the salaries have decreased by at least a third. I teach in private high schools and receive a good salary with bonuses. However, public school ALTs have daily pay with no stipends through the vacation periods. It should be no surprise that 90% of public school ALTs do not come from native English speaking countries. They come from the sane countries as those applying for the intern program. Those who cannot pass the requirements for the intern program take jobs a English teachers.

8 ( +9 / -1 )

kurisupisuToday 07:16 am JST

Why won’t foreigners come to Japan?

Better start developing those robots quick!

Didn't a Japanese population expert say only a short time back that when the Japanese population starts dropping it will be fairly rapid to around 80-90 million and robots won't save the day.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

There are many reasons , why foreigners will not come to Japan. 1). Poorly treated. 2). some japanese poor minded bosses & co-workers have egos as big as their mouth. 3). Some japanese people are very selfish and only think of themselves I can go on .........................................................Japanese men never say sorry, some japanese bosses and co-workers are expert for saying what they want and giving excuses etc etc.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

Japan's immigration policy is turning out like its past birthrate policies: magical thinking.

I think whoever thought up the numbers came to their conclusion on what they want, not what they could get...

5 ( +5 / -0 )

In order to qualify for the Specified Skilled Worker visa, an applicant must pass a skills exams and Japanese language test or have gone through Japan's technical intern program for at least three years.

> The Specified Skilled Worker No. 1 resident status allows foreigners to work in 14 sectors for up to five years in total.

> Proficient workers in the construction and shipbuilding fields can further extend their stay by earning the No. 2 status, which allows holders to bring in family members and has no limit on the number of times they can renew their visas.

Japanese govt

"Here's an idea.

Make the system a little more complicated, have more time (stay) restrictions, and all of that combined with low salaries, long work hours and hatred to foreign workers and then you'll have people lining up in no time!"

8 ( +8 / -0 )

Ohh no!! No-one wants to come to Japan the country of the rising sun? They don't want to work in high tech workplace with the smartest people on earth making big money?? Fools!!

3 ( +6 / -3 )

I don't think that a system where people work for 5 years, told to leave, and a third (or is it half) of their pension payments are withheld, will be a very workable system.

The sooner that Japan realises that the world is not Japans Cash Cow, the better.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

"they fall short of the maximum 47,550 foreigners expected to acquire the visa by March 2020."

Seems about right... the government makes lip-service laws saying they'll let in a bunch of people and pat themselves on the back, then let in about 0.5%. And then talk about how international they are and how they should host International events, saying they are all prepared and it would cost almost nothing, then spend 1000% more than they promised while the plan falls apart.

Nah... it's not because of limited test sites outside Japan; it's because the prevailing attitude doesn't want MORE tests outside of Japan, because they don't want things "to change" here, even though without more foreigners the nation will disappear within a few decades.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Yet only recently an article on this site described the immigrant numbers as a "flood". Attitudes need to change if you want people to come here and work.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

an article on this site described the immigrant numbers as a "flood"

It's actually scary as hell how little Japanese people get told about the real world, everything gets filtered through the media matrix and they actually trust it. Even with this 0.5% people will still be catastrophising

5 ( +5 / -0 )

How many actually people applied for this new type of visa? Its written that 219 acquired it, but what percentage is that of the number of applicants? Did 219 apply and all got the visa?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Japan is really dying.

The 'elite' don't care they are living in their 1930s retro bubble.

No one in their right mind would come to Japan to work willingly unless they really had to.......the work/life balance is so out of whack it is mental.

Poor pay,long working hours,hardly any holidays,no rights........something is deeply wrong in Japan.

Finally,after years of inertia I feel the locals are finally waking up to what is happening to their beautiful country.

I really hope they are.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

Working in Japan has been great for me. I retired a year and a half ago and still here.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

These are generally lower skilled jobs, not highly skilled jobs. At least that's true by the standards of most developed countries.

There are several hurdles placed in the way of applicants: Learning Japanese, one of the most difficult languages to master is the biggest hurdle. The other requirements are ability to "act Japanese", be a trustworthy person, and of course master the skills of the intended job.

I have been skeptical about finding 100,000 people per year who want to 'become Japanese' for a service job in a foreign country since they announce this program.

If Japan really wants these workers they need to relax the requirements a bit and accept that foreign people are not Japanese. Maybe Japan should become the best place in the world to be a service worker. What motivates and inspires these workers? Provide that and do it better than anyone else. Then you will get 100,000 applications per year.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@Andrew Crisp

It is not the Japanese that will be making the robots, it will be the Chinese just as they are starting to make cars,phones,marble flooring, toy models, skyscrapers etc etc.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Ohh no!! No-one wants to come to Japan the country of the rising sun? They don't want to work in high tech workplace with the smartest people on earth making big money?? Fools!!

I agree. I am puzzled why only 219 foreigners have acquired the so called "skilled visa" this year. Perhaps it was not promoted well overseas. Because skilled workers will be beating down the door when they realize the unique culture, great food (most michelin star restaurants in the world), excellent safety, transport, healthcare, and lifestyle on offer in Japan. Plus, the Olympics just around the corner is a big bonus.

Many will come in 2020!

-9 ( +1 / -10 )

Plenty of western skilled IT and tech workers would be interested in doing a working stint in their chosen profession (beyond working in English schools), but the barriers to entry are pretty big. Of course language is an issue (speech perhaps not so much, but writing definitely), but since many skilled jobs use some English there could be some scope for developing this whilst working. I guess it comes down to what Japan actually wants. Are they after people who may choose to build a future there or cheap migrants to do some temporary grunt-work?

1 ( +2 / -1 )

So many comments from people we do not know well about visa, the freedom of a sovereign country, know better or are jealous.

Before shouting what is good or not maybe some deeper understanding about the visa system, or why the amount of applications is lower than expected.

Of course you need to know the language. If a foreigner want to work and life in any country than it is a necessarity.

Yes Japan is facing challenges and need to solve it but any country does. And often applicants why want to work in Japan come from less developed countries. This is not a common job as it is discribed.

-6 ( +0 / -6 )

Why won’t foreigners come to Japan?

its simple really money and lifestyle, Japan isnt the only county after high skilled workers, countries like Canada Australia UK USA many EU countries are all looking and have been looking for many years, the salaries in these countries are nearly all higher than Japan and in most cases you wont be looked on as a second rate citizen. many of these skilled workers second language is english so no need to learn another language , Japanese to get the job, Japans got to offer far more than they are doing now if they want to entice these workers away from these countries. Presently Japan would be rated as a tier 2 country in terms of desired location of work. Cant treat skilled workers like low skilled workers theyll just say thanks but got a better offer someplace else

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Because skilled workers will be beating down the door when they realize the unique culture, great food (most michelin star restaurants in the world), excellent safety, transport, healthcare, and lifestyle on offer in Japan. Plus, the Olympics just around the corner is a big bonus.Many will come in 2020!

seriously NFI ,

all those things you mentioned apart from the Japanese culture are already present in countries like Australia NZ Canada UK and the average salaries are higher , strong laws protecting workers from overwork and exploitation by companies. Most of these Asian skilled workers second language is english. Is the Olympics going to pay them the same as theyd get in these countries, is the Olympics going to protect them from overwork and company exploitation, is the Olympics going to make them learn Japanese so they can pass the minimum language requirement to get a visa!? Theres way more to a good lifestyle than "michelin star restaurants"

my uncle just got in his boat on the weekend ,parked at the pier adjacent to his backyard ,went out to his favorite fishing spot caught half dozen fish came home parked the boat walked to the BBQ and fried them with some steak and sausages, had a quit dip in the pool while they were cooking. and guess what he never even went to University but he worked hard and now lives the lifestyle that only the wealthy could imagine in Japan . he wouldnt even know what "michelin star restaurants" are .LOL

Olympics is for two weeks but the bill is for japanese and foreigners residents to pay. A good lifestyle is forever and far easier to obtain outside japan

3 ( +4 / -1 )

WOW! I have been harping for ages, decades I would say, this "RESULT" is even WAY lower than I would have guessed...…..

Considering most of the "applicants" are already in CRAPPY jobs here.....as I have been saying the country is literally dying in front of us & faster than you think BUT this result is even much worse than I would have predicted…..

Japan is in REAL dire straights, robots are NOT going to be able to do it & frankly I would not want to live in a place with a bunch of STUPID electronic things all over the place...take about depressing!

When people from poorer nations are showing essentially NO interest...…….its NOT good!

3 ( +3 / -0 )

30 years ago, I remember bring at the immigration office at Otamachi, and watched as immigrant officer's grilled other Asians. They were shouting at the things like " why do I have speak English to you" and "you could study Japanese in your own country". One officer shouted at a Filipino woman "if you want to work in Japan you have prove that you are qualified in your own country".

That is enough to put anybody off coming to Japan.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

Just to add to my comments above... If Japan needs immigration then they should help “onboard” suitable talent with support in learning language and culture.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Every immigrant under this program I have met, is being exploited and treated like property. I met on guy cleaning ovens, who was an engineer, in some back water place, obscured from everyone that no Japanese would ever work. His story; same. Money was better than back home, but work and life; hell. Enter at your own risk!

7 ( +7 / -0 )

In addition, many foreigners are being abused and even worked to death, quite literally.

Saddled with debt to come here they are unable to simply quit their crap jobs...

2 ( +3 / -1 )

the less the better, start paying japanese properly first.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Immigration officer is absolutely right, you want to work in Japan, especially back then , yea speak Japanese.

I dont understand what wrong with following statement either ...?

"if you want to work in Japan you have prove that you are qualified in your own country"

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Even with 219 it won't be long before they leave after they realize how badly their bosses/companies treat them. No one that comes to Japan hangs around with the way Japanese bosses treat them unless they have no other option.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@Henny Penny - (3) If wages are low, working conditions are terrible, and taxes horrendous, why is it the Japan seems to have no trouble attracting an endless supply of English conversation teachers? (English conversation teachers has been treated as de facto skilled workers for visa purposes.)

Not sure where you're getting your information, Henny Penny. English schools are finding it near on impossible to get unrecycled "leftover" teachers these days. Even if they can get them the salary is rubbish (for someone straight out of school with no skills it's okay, but even then I wouldn't want to try and survive in Tokyo on an English teacher's wage).

1 ( +1 / -0 )

To work in Japan, u need to speak more Japanese than English. Don't show off your English! SouthEast Asian people are very arrogant at this plus they always blah blah about how life and work are much better in Western and why can't in Japan?

Because of the language English, Not Japanese.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

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