Japan to add hotel industry to foreign trainee program

JIJI

The hotel industry will be listed as lying within the scope of the type two trainee status under the government’s technical intern training program for foreign nationals, officials have said.

The program has three statuses — type one for first-year trainees, type two for those in the second to third year and type three for those in the fourth to fifth year.

Trainees who completed the type two program will be allowed to shift without examination to a new visa category planned under a bill to revise the immigration control law, which the government aims to enact during the current Diet session ending Dec. 10.

The type one category, one of the two visa categories planned under the bill, would be granted to foreign workers with designated skills, including blue-collar workers, and the other for those with higher skills.

The government estimates that 345,000 foreign workers would be accepted over five years under the type one visa category, of whom 45 percent would be those shifting from the type two trainee status.

However, the scope of the type two trainee status does not include the accommodation and restaurant sectors, though both are among the 14 sectors that would be designated for the type one visa category.

The addition of the hotel industry would therefore make it easier for the sector to secure workers under the type one visa category.

The government is considering adding the hotel industry because demand for acquiring related skills in Japan is believed to be high in developing countries where tourism is a key industry, Akihiko Kanai, vice commissioner at the Japan Tourism Agency, told a Diet panel Wednesday.