Stranded foreign nationals in Japan can now work part time

The Justice Ministry is relaxing work restrictions for foreigners, either as students or on other visa statuses, who are stuck in the country.
By: | December 4, 2020

These foreigners have not been able to leave the country due to strict quarantine regulations in or a ban on flights back to their home countries, with some having trouble supporting themselves financially. 

Those with 90-day short-stay permits can now renew their permits and be allowed to work up to 28 hours a week. Similarly, foreigners on student visas are permitted to work up to 28 hours per week even if they no longer have student status. 

Technical trainees can change their visas to a “specified activity” work permit for six months, Japan’s Justice Ministry said. 

News of the measures would be spread on social media and their duration would “depend on the situation”, an immigration bureau official said. 

About 21,000 foreign nationals in Japan may benefit from this new ruling, said NHK public broadcasting. 

READ: Japan sets up support body for foreign workers

Nevertheless, labour activists said the new rules are not adequate.  

“It’s better than nothing, but these people will not be eligible for either health insurance or welfare support. If they can find jobs that’s one thing, but it’s really insufficient for those who can’t. If they wanted to do it right, they should grant them permanent resident status.” said Koichi Kodama, a lawyer with expertise in foreign labour issues.