Japan Enacts Legislation on Foreign Worker Training

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
The Diet Building in Chiyoda Ward, Tokyo, Japan.

Tokyo, June 14 (Jiji Press) — Japan’s parliament enacted legislation on Friday to create a new skill development program for foreign workers to ease serious labor shortages in the country.

The government plans to introduce the program as early as 2027 to replace the current technical intern training scheme for foreigners.

The House of Councillors, the parliament’s upper chamber, approved the legislation to amend laws, including the immigration control and refugee recognition law, with support mainly from the ruling coalition.

The new program is designed to train unskilled foreign workers for three years to help them obtain Type 1 residency status, which allows them to work in Japan for up to five years.

Those who acquire Type 2 status, granted to highly skilled foreign workers, are effectively allowed to live in Japan permanently and bring family members to the country.

The current intern program, introduced as part of efforts to help transfer Japanese technologies to developing countries, has been criticized as a hotbed for abuse of trainees.

The new program allows foreign workers to change their employers after one to two years of employment only within the same job category.

Organizations in charge of overseeing employers of foreign workers are required to appoint outside auditors to ensure their independence and neutrality.

The government is allowed to revoke permanent residence permits of foreigners who intentionally fail to pay taxes, a move designed to address an expected increase in foreigners who stay in Japan for long periods after the new program is introduced.