A 35-year-old Chinese man has become the first person to be granted a residence status that effectively allows foreign blue-collar workers to stay in Japan indefinitely, the infrastructure ministry and a supporting organization said Thursday.

Weng Fei, an employee of a construction company in Gifu Prefecture, obtained the Specified Skilled Worker No. 2 status on Wednesday. Introduced in 2019, Japan's Specified Skilled Worker No. 2 policy is intended to attract foreign workers and address the country's severe labor shortage.

The system allows foreigners with certain Japanese language and vocational skills to apply for a resident status called Specified Skilled Worker No. 1, which grants working rights in 14 sectors, such as construction, farming and nursing, for up to five years.