Residence status established in 2019 to attract foreign workers to be issued for 1st time

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
Prospective foreign technical interns take a practical test in Hanoi in March 2021.

A Chinese man in Gifu Prefecture is set to become the first recipient of a residence status established to expand the acceptance of foreign workers, according to sources.

The Category II “specified skilled worker” status was established in April 2019 for foreign nationals with skills in construction, shipbuilding and ship machinery engineering.

Weng Fei, the Chinese man who is set to receive the status, works for a construction company in Kakamigahara, Gifu Prefecture. Weng, 35, currently has Category I status, which allows him to work in relatively simple jobs, according to a group that is supporting him.

In February this year, he applied to the Gifu Branch Office of the Nagoya Regional Immigration Services Bureau to upgrade his status. According to sources, immigration authorities have determined that he meets the requirements for Category II status, which requires practical experience as a team leader supervising construction workers, among other criteria.

Category I covers 14 industries, including agriculture. People with the status can work in Japan for up to five years but they are not allowed to bring family members. Category II allows holders to bring their spouses and children to Japan, and renew their period of stay.

According to the Immigration Services Agency, less than 50,000 foreign nationals in Japan had Category I status as of December.