Japan welcomes Thai workers

Japan welcomes Thai workers

Driven by a shortage of skilled workers, Japan is offering job opportunities in 14 work categories to foreign workers including Thai workers who have undergone occupational training in Japan previously, the Labour Ministry says.

The ministry has signed a memorandum of cooperation (MoC) with four Japanese agencies — the Justice Ministry, Foreign Ministry, Public Health, Labour and Welfare ministry, and the National Police Office — on cooperation in supplying skilled workers to Japan, said permanent secretary for labour Suthi Sukosol.

Priority will be given to Thai workers who have completed an occupational training programme of between three and five years in Japan under a previous Thai-Japanese cooperation agreement, he said.

In the first phase of the agreement, Japan will welcome skilled workers from Thailand to work in Japan for up to five years in four out of all 14 work categories: nursing, construction industry, building cleaning, and agriculture, he said. Other areas of work in which Japan needs to import skilled workers from overseas include machinery parts and industrial equipment production, the machine industry, electronics, information technology, ship building, car repair and maintenance, aviation, hotels, fisheries and aquaculture, food and beverage production, and hospitality.

Japan wants Thailand to supply it with skilled workers in these categories as soon as the Covid-19 pandemic situation subsides, Department of Employment director-general Suchart Pornchaiwisetkul said.

The demand for foreign skilled workers in Japan is driven mainly by Japan’s need to boost economic growth, he said.

Saichon Akanitvong, Minister Counsellor, Office of Labour Affairs, at the Royal Thai Embassy in Tokyo, said about 60,000 to 70,000 skilled workers in these jobs will be exported to Japan each year over the next five years.

While Japan is facing a shortage of skilled workers, foreign workers undergoing job training in Japan are normally required to leave the country at the end of their training, despite the fact many Japanese employers want trained foreign workers who can stay on and work for them, Mr Saichon said.

Previously, many Thai workers completed training and were given a payment of 600,000 Japanese yen each for starting new jobs when they returned home, a source said.

Japan has also offered similar job training opportunities to workers in other countries including the Philippines, Cambodia, Nepal, Myanmar, Mongolia, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Vietnam, Bangladesh, Uzbekistan and Pakistan, the source said.

Office of Overseas Employment Administration director Kattiya Pandech said this was a good opportunity for skilled Thais, especially for more than 5,000 workers who have completed training in Japan before as they will be exempt from mandatory Japanese language and work skill tests if they want to go back to Japan to pursue a job in the same work area they had been trained in. Workers who have not passed such training will still be required to pass a Japanese language and work skill test first, he said.