The Cabinet of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Friday approved the creation of a new category of visa for foreign nurses and caregivers as part of efforts to fill a shortage in the workforce.

Drafted by the Justice Ministry and requiring Diet approval, the proposal to amend the immigration law mainly targets exchange students studying nursing care in Japanese universities and vocational schools. It would enable them to stay in the country and find a permanent job after graduation.

It reflects recommendations made by a panel of third-party immigration experts to Justice Minister Yoko Kamikawa in December. In its report, the panel urged the nation to pursue highly skilled foreign talent more aggressively.