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Japan expands its worker visa programme for 2024, plan to recruit 820,000 foreigners!

Japan is expanding its foreign worker visa program to alleviate the driver shortage, with the goal of admitting 820,000 qualified workers over the next five years. The program comprises new laws and standards for employment in the transportation and rail industries.

Written by Thelearnvine

Japan has just extended its foreign worker visa program for the first time since it was established in 2019. With this, the Japanese government hopes to address the country's driver shortage by allowing prolonged stays of up to five years.

This expansion would include four additional sectors: road and railway transportation, forestry, and the lumber industry. Surprisingly, there has been a significant surge in demand for foreign workers in Japan. There are various variables, but one of the most important is a major decrease in birth rates and shortages in the transportation and logistics industries.


These shortages are likely to coincide with the implementation of new restrictions restricting drivers' extra hours, known as the "2024 problem." With this, the Japanese government expects to accept up to 820,000 foreigners under the skilled worker visa program during the following five fiscal years, beginning in April.

This figure exceeds the previous forecast for the five years prior to the year 2023, which ended in March. Following public comment on the proposed reforms, the government intends to modify key rules, particularly those under the Justice Ministry, to enable the hiring of competent personnel in the newly included areas.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshimasa Hayashi has asked relevant ministers to plan for the rapid integration of foreign workers. Under the new program, competent foreigners can work in the transportation industry as bus drivers, taxi drivers, and truck drivers, as long as they work for businesses approved by the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport, and Tourism.

Proficiency in Japanese at the N3 level, one of the five levels of the Japanese Language Proficiency Test, is necessary for employment that involve passenger communication. Skilled individuals in the railway sector can work in a variety of professions, including train car production, track maintenance, and as drivers, conductors, or station staff.


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