By Erma Edera and Analou de Vera
Filipino workers may get more than a third share of the 350,000 available jobs that Japan will open to foreign nationals with the effectivity next month of a law allowing new residence status to foreign workers, the Department of Labor and Employment said.
Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said Filipino skilled workers are among the preferred nationals in Japan with the potential of cornering more than 100,000 in fresh job openings.
“Our workers may get at least 30 percent of available jobs for foreign nationals,” Bello said.
To govern the deployment of “specified skilled workers,” a memorandum of cooperation is set for signing on Tuesday in Tokyo between the labor department and Japan’s Ministries of Justice, Foreign Affairs, Health, Labor and Welfare, and the National Police Agency.
Bello said the cooperation agreement will not just provide better opportunities but also enhance protection for skilled Filipino workers for deployment to Japan.
“This agreement, aside from providing better opportunities, is geared toward ensuring their protection by means of implementing a basic framework that will promote smooth and proper mechanisms in sending, accepting, and residence management of incoming specified skilled workers in Japan,” he said.
As defined in the agreement, the specified skilled workers are those who possess certain expertise and skills and granted the status of residence of “Specified Skilled Worker,” by the government of Japan.
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.
Under the agreement, the shared areas for cooperation are streamlining of recruitment processes; examining mechanisms on accepting and supporting organizations and a specified skilled worker; providing guidance and supervision in the implementation of the system; sharing of information; establishing of a joint committee for resolution of issues and continued improvement of the system; administering examinations; and promoting the welfare and protection of Filipino skilled workers.
The Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) will process their requirements and accreditation while Philippine Labor Overseas Labor Office (POLO)-Japan will verify the skilled workers’ documents, coordination onsite, and welfare concerns.
The National Reintegration Center for OFWs (NRCO) will be responsible for the reintegration of returning specified skilled workers.
Some 60,000 caregivers are needed in Japan, POEA administrator Bernard Olalia said. Private recruitment agencies will be processing the employment of qualified foreign workers under the new specialized skilled worker visa of Japan starting April 1.
He added the new visa will have two classifications: one for semi-skilled workers such as caregivers, with five-year contract, and one for highly-skilled workers that will have the chance to acquire an immigrant status after contract, also for five years.
Olalia said the workers are wanted in health institutions in the host country.
“Mostly in elderly care institutions since they have many senior citizens,” he said.
Olalia reminded the applicants to wait for their advice regarding the new visa since it is only set to be signed on March 19.
The POEA also warned the public not to fall for recruitment agencies that are claiming that they are accepting applicants for the new visa. (With PNA)