Japanese firms open to relaxed immigration laws

Results of a new poll reveal that most Japanese businesses are in favour or relaxing the country’s strict immigration rules to help with labour shortages.

A Reuters poll found that 60 per cent of big and mid-sized firms favour a more open immigration system. However, there is a clear desire for white-collar workers over unskilled labourers.

Only 38 per cent of those polled were in favour of allowing unskilled workers into the country. While some companies saw unskilled foreign workers as a source of cheap labour, others fretted about the cost to their businesses of educating and managing them, citing cultural and language barriers.

Young businessmen who have a discussion - Emigrate2Surprisingly, given the country’s stringent immigration laws, 57 per cent of firms stated that they already hired at least one foreign worker. The number of foreigners working in Japan has more than doubled in the past decade to 1.3 million. However, that remains below 2 percent of the total Japanese labour force.

Earlier this year, the Japanese government unveiled plans to allow five-year work permits for foreigners in certain categories. Authorities are also considering allowing foreign workers who pass certain tests to stay indefinitely and bring their families.

The latest survey result suggests that companies are slightly more receptive to the idea of hiring foreigners (both skilled and unskilled) than they were in a March 2017 poll.

Article published 24th August 2018