A Nepalese man deported last November had been instructing fellow nationals in Japan on how to forge asylum status applications in order to obtain work permits, Justice Ministry officials said on Wednesday.

The 30-year-old encouraged compatriots to exploit the system that allows foreigners to work legally six months after applying for refugee status.

He urged them, regardless of their situation, to claim that their lives would be in danger if they were deported to Nepal. He then showed them how to falsify the documents, and found them work before the six-month waiting period had expired, taking commissions for job placement.

The ministry became aware of the scam when its Immigration Bureau investigated foreign workers at a rubber plant in Toyama Prefecture last September and found more than 10 Nepalese workers there with pending refugee status applications.

The workers said the man had shown them how to forge their applications and find jobs. He was then deported.

Japan last year saw a record 5,000 refugee status applications, including 1,293 from Nepalese applicants, a sharp increase from 109 in 2010, the ministry said.

A panel of experts at the ministry said last December that some foreigners either abused the refugee status system to get jobs in Japan or simply misunderstood the system.