MANILA – Filipino workers may corner at least 30 percent of some 350,000 jobs that Japan will offer to foreigners starting April 1, Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said Saturday.
Data from the Department of Labor and Employment showed that as of June 2018, there were around 280,000 Filipinos residing and working in Japan, of whom 34,003 are professional and highly skilled workers.
Most OFWs in Japan belong to highly-specialized fields, such as engineering and the academe.
Japanese Ambassador to the Philippines Koji Haneda earlier noted that “Japan faces an aging society and lacks labor force, while the Philippines is abundant with young labor force with great potential.”
Bello and Japanese Justice Minister Takashi Yamashita last week signed a Memorandum of Cooperation (MOC) providing better protection for Filipino workers to be hired under a new specified skills residency in Japan.
The pact seeks to establish a basic partnership framework for the “proper operation of the system pertaining to foreign human resources” with the status of residence of “specified skilled worker” who possess certain expertise and skills in certain job categories.
Among the specified skills include those in health care, building maintenance, food services, industrial machinery, electronics, food manufacturing, agriculture, hospitality, construction, shipbuilding, fisheries and aquaculture, parts and tooling, and aviation.
“[T]his agreement is geared towards a more secure process of recruitment and deployment of specified skilled workers in Japan,” Bello said.
Requirements to be hired as a specified skilled worker in Japan includes passing the skill level tests and Japanese proficiency, which will be administered by the Japan Foundation in the Philippines.
Those who will be hired as specified skilled workers can stay in Japan for a maximum of five years under the Specified Skills No. 1 visa status, and may receive Specified Skills No. 2 status if the worker obtains a higher level of specialization.