Japan May Lift Work Visa Restrictions for Foreign Nurses and Dentists
Due to Japan’s fast-aging and shrinking population, the immigration bureau is considering a plan to abolish visa limits for hundreds of nurses from the Philippines and Indonesia that currently restrict them to working in Japan for only seven years.
According to the bureau official, the changes may come as early as this month and as soon as the bureau formally endorses a new five-year policy plan.
“We are considering abolishing the limitation,” he said. “As we are facing an era with a shrinking population, it is important to accept fresh blood from other Asian countries, which are growing rapidly.”
Japan may also lift a six-year work limit for foreign dentists after it already did so for overseas medical doctors in 2006. Aside from that they are also considering to foreigners who graduate from Japanese universities and other institutions with national nursing and other relevant qualifications.
The latest government data showed that Japan’s population fell by about 75,000 in 2009, the biggest drop since World War II, while the country had a record 28.98 million people aged 65 or over last year.
The number of foreign workers in Japan has reached a record 1.92 million but still accounts for only 1.5 percent of the population, often described as the world’s most homogeneous.