The government is mulling introducing a common Japanese language test for applicants seeking one of two new types of visas for foreign workers, informed sources have said.

The Foreign Ministry and the Japan Foundation, an independent administrative agency, are making necessary preparations, the sources said Saturday.

Of the two new resident statuses, type one will be granted to foreigners with certain professional skills and type two to those with higher skills. The government aims to introduce the new resident statuses in April next year.

The language test will be taken for the type one category, the sources said. To pass the test, applicants need to have Japanese skills good enough for daily life, according to the sources.

The language test will likely start in April 2019 at the earliest and will be conducted up to about six times a year, mainly in Southeast Asian nations from which Japan has accepted a number of people under its existing on-the-job training program for foreigners, the sources said.

Applicants’ professional skills will be tested through paper and practical exams in each industry.

Holders of type one status will be allowed to work in 14 industries, including nursing care, construction, agriculture and automobile maintenance.

For automobile maintenance, for example, applicants will be tested to see whether they have skills equivalent to those required for grade three under Japan’s national certification system for automobile technicians.

Professional skill tests for type two status will be decided later as the government expects to see no applicant for the category in the first year, the sources said.

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