With Japan’s drive to bring in more foreign workers to augment the widening gap between manpower resources and labour demands, the Labour Ministry will establish a financial aid system to help foreign caregiver trainees learn Japanese while acquiring technical knowledge according to officials last September 24, as shared in report by the Japan Times.
With the entry of foreign caregivers in Japan, labour shortage will be addressed, hopefully, both in the short and long-term. However, this job specifically requires greater proficiency in the language than other jobs do. The establishment of the financial aid system is a step by the Japanese government to create a more conducive environment for adopting the Japanese language.
Foreign Caregiver Trainees to be given Financial Assistance for Language Lessons
For the program to push through, the Ministry of Health, Labour, and Welfare is requesting JPY 1.3 billion for fiscal 2019 starting in April.
As per the concerned ministry, facilities that take in foreign trainees will entitled to receive subsidy at the prefectural level. The amount of aid to be given per recipient will be determined once the Cabinet compiles the draft budget by the end of the year.
Foreign care workers will become eligible to receive this assistance by attending Japanese learning facilities and purchasing related materials needed for taking the Japanese Language Proficiency Test (JLPT). Institutions that provide Japanese instructors to caregiving training centres will also qualify for the said assistance.
At present, foreign trainees are required to have basic Japanese proficiency equivalent to the N4 level set by the five-level JLPT once they set foot in Japan. N1 is the highest proficiency level and N3 has to be achieved in the second year of the trainees into the program.
However, the ministry is also studying the possibility of allowing second-year trainees who failed the JLPT N3 to stay in the country.
The target schedule set by the government to start accepting more foreign workers is by April next year. This will also introduce a new residence status which covers those working in fields such as nursing care, agriculture, construction, lodging, shipbuilding, and other sectors particularly affected by the serious labour shortage in the country.