Nursing care schools have seen a surge in the number of foreign students following a legal amendment making it easier for prospective caregivers to acquire resident status in rapidly graying Japan.

The rise in foreign students training to become caregivers is a boon for schools. As the nation faces a serious labor shortage in its nursing care sector, it has struggled to attract workers willing to toil in demanding conditions for poor pay.

According to the Japan Association of Training Institutions for Certified Care Workers, comprising bodies including vocational schools and junior colleges, the number of foreign students nationwide has grown to 257 in fiscal 2016, more than seven-fold from 34 in fiscal 2011.