Use of New Japanese Visa Status Stalling

Politics

Tokyo, March 31 (Jiji Press)--Utilization of Japan's new visa status for foreign workers with certain skills is stalling, after its introduction in April last year to alleviate labor shortages in the country.

The number of foreign people who lived in Japan with the new status stood at 2,994 at the end of February, according to preliminary data from the Immigration Services Agency.

The figure was low given the government's goal of accepting up to over 340,000 foreigners with the status over the five years from its introduction. Only seven countries, including Japan, have so far hosted skills tests for foreigners to qualify for the status.

Justice Minister Masako Mori is confident the number of holders of the new status will increase. Starting in fiscal 2020, which begins on Wednesday, the number of holders is "expected to grow steadily, considering the projected increase in the number of countries hosting skills tests and the frequency of tests," she said.

But such optimism may not be warranted, as the coronavirus pandemic forces test cancellations and prevents test passers from traveling to Japan.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press