|Vietnamese workers at Koganei Seki Co., Ltd. in Gunma prefecture
The Japanese government began the new visa programme in April so as to increase the number of foreign workers in the country.
Out of the 14 sectors eligible for working rights under the visas, food and beverage manufacturing had the most visa holders at 49, followed by industrial machinery production at 43, molding at 42, and farming at 31.
The agency officials said they hope to increase the number of foreign workers that stay in Japan after acquiring such visas by offering tests in all available vocational fields by the end of March 2020. They are planning to give applicants more opportunities to take the tests both in Japan and abroad.
In order to qualify for the visa, an applicant must pass a skills exams and Japanese language test or have gone through Japan’s technical intern programme for at least three year.
The Specified Skilled Worker No.1 resident status allows foreigners to work in 14 sectors for up to five years in total.
Meanwhile, 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.