Japan & South Africa consider changing foreign work visa programme

South Africa plans to simplify and speed up the process of obtaining a work visa by overhauling its current system while Japan may extend long-term work visas to skilled foreign workers in up to twelve industries, including food service


Japan and South Africa are considering changes to their respective foreign working visa programs. In Japan, the government is contemplating expanding the list of industries where skilled foreign workers can obtain long-term work visas from three to twelve. 

The proposed change, which could include the food service industry, would allow workers to bring their families and stay for an extended period. While Japan is experiencing a severe labour shortage, it has been hesitant to allow widespread immigration of foreign workers.

In 2019, Japan implemented a law that granted Japanese visas to specified skilled workers in 14 sectors, including farming, nursing care, and sanitation. However, the stay for these workers has been limited to five years without their families, except for those in the construction and shipping industries. A special permit system enables those in elderly care to have extended stays. Talks are underway to seek approval for the revisions from the cabinet as soon as possible.

Similarly, South Africa plans to revamp its work visa system  with the aim of simplifying the process and shortening the time it takes to obtain a work visa.

This move is aimed at generating $110 billion worth of investments by 2028, as well as creating employment and investment opportunities for Indians and other foreign workers. South Africa is also planning to streamline the student visa process. Currently, the South African Department of Home Affairs has a backlog of 62,692 visa applications as of the end of March. By reducing wait times and simplifying the process, South Africa hopes to attract more foreign workers and create new job opportunities.

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