Record number of foreign students in Japan with work visas

Record number of foreign students in Japan with work visas

The number of in-work foreign students in Japan, who changed their status to work permits from student visa, has hit a record high in 2018.

This rise in foreign students in Japan in work comes amid a chronic manpower shortage, according to the Immigration Services Agency.

Last year, a total of 25,942 students switched their residence status in order to land a job in Japan. This is a vast increase from just 3,523 the previous year.

Japan Today reports that this figure reflects the overall growth in number of overseas students and surging demand from companies for foreign workers to deal with a labour crunch caused by Japan’s aging population and falling birth rate.

Visas taken out under the status “engineer, specialist in humanities, international services”, under which foreigners can take out jobs such as engineers and accountants accounted for 93.2% of work visas.

Visas designated “business manager” comprised 2.2% and “professor” 2.1%.

Majority of foreign students in Japan with work permits are Asian graduates

China topped the list for country of origin, with 42% of those swapping from a student to a work visa hailing from this nation, this was followed by Vietnam at 20.2% and Nepal at 11.3%. Asian nations accounted for 95.3% of the total.

In May 2019, the immigration agency revised a Justice Ministry notification to allow foreigners who have either graduated from universities or completed postgraduate studies in Japan to work at restaurants and retail shops under the “Designated Activities” status of residence.

Before this change, Japanese university graduates from overseas were not allowed to work in the services sector on the grounds that jobs in the industry were irrelevant to their expertise.

In August, we report how Japan was planning to tighten rules on universities in a bid to protect foreign students, after an institution in Tokyo lost contact with more than 1,600 international students.

Pic: Aleksandar Pasaric

Hari Srinivasan - Managing Editor, Global Education Times (GET News)

Hari is the Managing Editor of Global Education Times. Hari has clocked nearly a decade working as a communications professional with a focus on the education sector. He has also had stints in journalism and advertising in a career which has seen him live, study, and work, in three countries.
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