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Japan – Government to toughen controls on labour brokers for foreign workers (The Japan Times)

Japan’s government is planning to strengthen regulations on brokers who collect large sums from foreign nationals seeking to work in Japan as the country prepares to bring in blue-collar workers from overseas under new visas, reports the Japan Times. According to a draft plan compiled by the Labour Ministry, the government aims to enhance the protection of foreign workers from April 2019, when the new visa system is scheduled to enter into force, by introducing tougher standards for Japanese placement agencies working with brokers overseas.

Under the proposed stricter regulations, placement agencies in Japan may have their permits revoked or not be granted if associated brokers overseas collect deposits from workers, make them sign contracts that require them to pay penalties if they quit midway, or lend them money for travel expenses or other fees. Foreign workers who arrive in the country as trainees under a government-sponsored technical internship program often bear heavy debts, as brokers collect a large amount of money from the workers or their families under the pretext of guarantee deposits or other fees. Japan recently created a new visa system to attract foreign workers into some its sectors with skill shortages, including construction, farming and nursing care, due to an aging population and falling birthrate.

Source: Staffing Industry Analysis