Japan enacts controversial law to accept foreign blue-collar workers
On December 8, the Japanese government enacted a new law to bring more blue-collar foreign workers into the country, in a controversial move to address chronic labour shortages. Under the new law, Japan plans to bring in 345,000 foreign workers in construction, food services, nursing and other sectors for 5 years. The law will take effect in April 2019 and create two new visa categories. The first status allows foreign nationals with skills in sectors facing severe shortages to obtain five-year visas, which will not allow them to bring their families. The second status allows foreign workers in those fields who hold stronger qualifications and pass a more difficult Japanese language test will be able to obtain a visa that can be extended indefinitely, eventually leading to residency, and will be able to bring over family.