Limits set for house calls by foreign nursing care workers in Japan
“Under the revised Immigration Control and Refugee Recognition Law (see below) set to take effect in April next year, foreign workers in the nursing care business will be in supplementary roles such as helping the elderly with eating and bathing at relevant facilities, and basically will not provide home-visit care services.”
Under the revised Immigration Control and Refugee Recognition Law (see below) set to take effect in April next year, foreign workers in the nursing care business will be in supplementary roles such as helping the elderly with eating and bathing at relevant facilities, and basically will not provide home-visit care services.
The restriction on visiting care services will be among the detailed contents describing the work foreigners will conduct in 14 planned business fields in which the government intends to accept foreign workers. The government plans to specify the contents in operational directives to be decided at the end of this year, according to sources.
Among the 14 business fields, the nursing care business will accept the largest number of foreign workers.
The operational directives will include business fields to accept foreign workers, estimates of how many will be employed in a five-year period starting in fiscal 2019, the contents of work, their employment status and to what extent each field will require Japanese language abilities.
The government’s draft estimates that up to 345,150 foreign workers will be accepted in the 14 business fields over five years. The figures are the same as those in the estimate that the government presented to the Diet.
Up to 60,000 foreign workers will be accepted in the nursing care business. As the new Category 1 residence status to be introduced in April requires foreign workers to have relatively basic technical skills and Japanese ability, their work at nursing care facilities will center on support for the elderly’s bathing, eating and excretion.
However, based on economic partnership agreements with countries from which Japan will accept foreign workers, foreign nursing care workers who are certified to have advanced skills and Japanese language abilities will be allowed to engage in home-visit care. The move to separate foreign nursing care workers into support and skilled roles is aimed at effectively utilizing foreign human resources, the sources said.
Meanwhile, the accommodation business plans to have foreign workers engage in front-desk reception, customer service and restaurant work. Up to 22,000 workers will be accepted in this field.
With a large number of foreign tourists expected to visit Japan for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics, the government expects foreign nationals will work in a wide range of businesses. Foreign workers in the agriculture field are expected to be responsible for selecting and shipping products as well as managing cultivation. In construction, they will conduct formwork and plastering work, for instance.
Foreign workers will be required to attain Japanese-language proficiency equivalent to the N4 level of the current Japanese language proficiency test, the second-lowest of the test’s five levels.
The government intends to decide the operational directives for each business field, basic policies to operate the new system and comprehensive measures for coexisting with foreign nationals by the end of the year. The draft of the comprehensive measures includes support for everyday life, such as providing multilingual written driver’s license tests and dispatching medical interpreters to hospitals in provincial areas. The government plans to present the three drafts to the ruling Liberal Democratic Party and its coalition partner Komeito as early as Monday so that full-fledged discussions can begin.
■ Revised Immigration Control and Refugee Recognition Law
Enacted on Dec. 8, the revised law will create a new residence status with specific skills on April 1 next year and accept foreign workers in businesses that include simple work. There are two categories of residence status. Category 1 applies to workers in professions requiring relatively simple skills and allows them to live in Japan for up to five years. Category 2 applies to highly skilled workers and allows them to bring their families and effectively reside permanently in Japan.