Good news for Filipino health care workers.
According to a report by Inquirer, Japanese authorities are “looking into the possibility of relaxing its restrictive hiring rules for Filipino health care workers who would attend to its greying population.”
Japanese Foreign Ministry Deputy Press Secretary Masato Ohtaka recently confirmed this, indicating that Japan is hoping to hire more Filipino nurses and caregivers because their country really needs them. He said that the required number of health care workers in Japan has not been met.
Back in 2006, Japan and the Philippines signed the Japan-Philippines Economic Partnership Agreement (JPEPA) in Finland signaling the hiring of Filipino workers, most of which were nurses and caregivers. The agreement was ratified by the Philippine Senate years after that.
In an interview with reporters, Ohtaka said:
“They are looking into that (relaxing hiring rules) … it depends on how much interest there is from the Filipino people and it depends on how successful our scheme is.”
As of present time, Japan requires health care worker applicants from the Philippines to undergo the Preparatory Japanese Language Training (PJLT) which runs for six months. Also, applicants have to pass a Nihongo test to be hired for desired job positions.
“Our current scheme is not easy, but we really do need some care workers from the Philippines and other countries… I will not be surprised if there will be tweaks here and there to allow [foreign] workers [to qualify].”
Japan currently allows 500 to 600 Filipino nurses and caregivers to enter the country each year but unfortunately, less than 10% of that number makes it through because of the difficult requirements.
The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) has reported that since the signing of the accord, 1,265 health workers have already been hired from the Philippines.