The government on Thursday started soliciting public comments over its plan to allow foreign nationals who come to Japan under the government-sponsored Technical Intern Training Program to work directly for hotels for up to five years, officials said.

Those workers could eventually apply for a new visa under a system for blue-collar foreign workers, allowing them to stay for an extended period of time.

Currently, foreign workers who have what is called a Type 2 trainee visa can apply for the new long-term working visa without passing any examination. However, the hotel industry is not covered by the transition system, which prompted the industry to call for a revision of the system.

The new blue-collar visa system was launched in April for 14 industries, including the hotel industry, to bring in more foreign workers as part of efforts to ease the nation’s acute labor shortage. Comments can be submitted until June 14 via a government website.

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