By Philippine News Agency
TOKYO – Philippine and Japanese officials have signed a landmark memorandum of cooperation (MOC) laying the groundwork for more secure recruitment and employment of skilled workers between the two countries.
The MOC was signed by representatives of Japan’s Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare, and the National Police Agency of Japan, and the Department of Labor and Employment, and Department of Foreign Affairs of the Philippines.
Japanese Justice Minister Takashi Yamashita and Labor and Employment Secretary Silvestre Bello III signed the documents in a ceremony also attended by Philippine and Japanese officials led by Philippine Ambassador to Japan Jose C. Laurel V.
The memorandum seeks to create a basic partnership framework for the “proper operation of the system pertaining to foreign human resources” with the status of residence of “Specified Skilled Worker.”
The memorandum, among other things, seeks to promote the mutual protection of the specified skilled workers including the elimination of malicious intermediary organizations, commonly known as illegal recruiters.
“I think that the Philippines will be the leading country in sending specified skilled workers to Japan, and as such, I expect that more and more great Filipino people will bring their contributions to Japan,” Yamashita said in his speech.
Also present during the signing were Philippine Overseas Employment Administrator (POEA) Bernard P. Olalia and Labor Attache Maria Rose C. Escalada, Japan Immigration Bureau Director-General Shoko Sasaki and Directors Nobuzaku Matsuri and Makoto Katayama.
Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said Filipino skilled workers are among the preferred nationals in Japan with the potential of cornering more than 100,000 in fresh job openings.
“Our workers may get at least 30 percent of available jobs for foreign nationals,” Bello said earlier.
Among the specified skills are health care, building maintenance, food services, industrial machinery, electronics, food manufacturing, agriculture, hospitality, construction, shipbuilding, fisheries and aquaculture, parts and tooling, and aviation.
In caregivers alone, Olalia earlier said Japan needs some 60,000. Private recruitment agencies will be processing the employment of qualified foreign workers under the new specialized skilled worker visa of Japan starting April 1.
He explained that the new visa will have two classifications: one for semi-skilled workers such as caregivers, with a five-year contract, and one for highly skilled workers that will have the chance to acquire an immigrant status after the five-year contract.
POEA warned the public not to fall for recruitment agencies claiming to accept applicants for the new visa. (With reports from Erma R. Edera and Analou De Vera)