Tuesday, May 21, 2024

If you are experienced driver Japan is looking for you


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Faced with significant labour shortage, Japan is expanding the eligible industries under the Specified Skilled Worker No. 1 visa to 16, to add transport sector the first such expansion since the program’s inception in 2019.

The move allows Japan to recruit  skilled foreigners as drivers in the road transportation sector, including buses, taxis, and trucks, by certified companies.

Up to 820,000 foreigners will be absorbed in the transportation and logistics sectors over the next five years which is more than double the previous estimation for the five years.

The need for drivers is especially expected to rise significantly with the implementation of new overtime regulations for drivers starting in April, known as the “2024 problem.”

Japanese Language Proficiency

In addition to demonstrating driver qualification, potential candidates will also be expected to show language proficiency, particularly for drivers of buses and taxis who interact with passengers and this include passing the N3 level of the Japanese Language Proficiency Test.

Foreigners holding the No. 1 visa must demonstrate professional and Japanese language skills, while the No. 2 visa allows for unlimited renewals and potential permanent residency, enabling workers to bring their families to Japan.

A report published by the Ministry of Health, Labor, and Welfare shows that the number of foreign workers in Japan in 2023 reached a record high of 2,048,675 as of October 31, for a year-on-year increase of 225,950.

The breakdown by nationality shows that workers from Vietnam numbered 518,364 (25.3% of the total), followed by China (including Hong Kong and Macao) at 397,918 (19.4%) and the Philippines 226,846 (11.1%).

By industry, manufacturing accounted for the largest share at 27%, followed by the service industry at 15.7% and the wholesale and retail sector at 12.9%.

An aging population and a declining birth rate have conspired to cause a huge labour shortage in Japan.

Japan has also introduced Digital Nomad visa in an attempt to attract highly qualified individuals in technology a move it hopes will spur tourism and domestic innovation.

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