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Japan Eases Visa Rules, Facilitating Job Opportunities for Foreign Students

 

Japan's government has relaxed visa regulations on Thursday, responding to appeals from business and academic sectors. The Immigration Services Agency of Japan stated that graduates from state-designated technical schools are now permitted to work in fields beyond their majors, alleviating previous restrictions.

This measure is poised to increase the annual count of foreign students staying in Japan for work by an estimated 3,000 individuals, according to the agency. The development is particularly noteworthy as many foreign students, despite acquiring technical and Japanese-language skills, faced challenges finding employment matching their expertise, resulting in a return to their home countries.

Furthermore, the government expanded the eligibility criteria for the "designated activities" visa, extending it beyond university and graduate school graduates. Now, this visa category includes students with high Japanese proficiency and educational achievements equivalent to a bachelor's degree. This encompasses those who have completed a four-year program at a designated technical school.

The broader eligibility aims to cater to the aspirations of foreign students in technical schools, with approximately 75% expressing a desire to work in Japan, according to a survey by the Japan Student Services Organisation in fiscal 2021.

Overall, the revised visa rules reflect Japan's commitment to retaining skilled foreign talent, addressing the mismatch between acquired skills and available job opportunities, and fostering a more welcoming environment for international students.

Feb. 29, 2024 1:25 p.m. 1273

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