SITYS: Japan Times: “Points System” visa of 2012 being overhauled for being too strict; only 700 applicants for 2000 slots
Posted by Dr. ARUDOU, Debito on February 8th, 2014
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Hi Blog. When looking through my “Draft” posts (i.e., the ones I put on hold for publication later), I noticed that I forgot to blog this one when it came out. It’s another instance where Debito.org got it right (filed under the category of SITYS, or “See I Told You So”).
When the GOJ came out with its “Points System” in 2012, we said that it would be a failure (actually even before that — in its embryonic stage Debito.org still doomsaid, see here and here), because, as the previous links discuss, a) its standards are awry and too high (even giving no real weight to the NJ who took the trouble to learn Japanese), and b) it is underpinned with an elite arrogance that NJ are beating down the doors to enter rich and safe Japan no matter what (without paving the way for them to be treated equally with Japanese in terms of employment or civil rights). Japan isn’t as attractive a labor market as Japan’s bureaucrats might think, for structural and systemic reasons that Debito.org has been substantiating for decades. And yes, as the article below substantiates, the “Points System” has failed — less than half the number of people the GOJ was aiming for bothered to apply.
Sorry for the delay in postings these days (I have a monster project that I have to finish up, so blogging has to go on the back burner). Let me just put this post up as a matter of record (I already incorporated the information into my January Japan Times JBC column; see Item 4), and I’ll put something different up tomorrow for discussion. ARUDOU, Debito
Initiative fails to lure high-skilled foreigners
BY TOMOHIRO OSAKI
The Japan Times, DEC 24, 2013
After drawing too few applicants, a government-led initiative to attract “highly skilled foreigners” was overhauled Tuesday by the Justice Ministry.
Started in May 2012, the program is designed to shore up the thinning domestic labor force. Statistics from the National Institute of Population and Social Security Research show the population will plunge to about 90 million by 2050 from 127 million at present.
Foreign applicants receive “points” based on such criteria as academic achievement, career background and annual income. More than 70 points earns access to a raft of visa perks, such as the right to work no matter the visa status, visas for parents and housekeepers to care for children, and a fast track to permanent residence. Examples of highly skilled professionals include researchers, university professors, corporate executives and engineers.
While the ministry believed 2,000 foreign residents in Japan a year would qualify, only 700 had applied as of September, immigration bureau official Nobuko Fukuhara said.
The system has been criticized as setting too high a bar for applicants. For example, those under 30 years of age had to earn at least ¥3.4 million annually to qualify, while those over 40 needed to exceed ¥6 million.
With the changes Tuesday, anyone earning over ¥3 million is eligible. The minimum income requirement will be scrapped altogether for academics, who are at a disadvantage due to their relatively lower income.
In another move to help academics, their scholarly achievements will be given more points.
Bonus points will also be added for applicants’ Japanese language skills and experience studying at Japanese schools.
“We’re fully aware just giving foreigners visa perks wouldn’t be such a big incentive for them to come to Japan,” said Fukuhara, who noted Japan needs to adopt more fundamental reforms, such as raising salaries.
ONE MORE COMMENT FROM DEBITO: The Coda is maintained at the very end of the article, reinforcing the stereotype that NJ only alight in Japan for money…