Japan-bound Filipino skilled workers to get equal or more pay than Japanese counterparts

By Erma Edera

Filipinos, who will work in Japan under its new specified skilled worker residency law, are guaranteed to receive equivalent or even better pay than that their local counterparts, Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said on Thursday.

Bello said the memorandum of cooperation he signed last week in Tokyo with Japanese officials will assure that skilled Filipino workers will receive better pay.

Labor and Employment Secretary Silvestre Bello III, in a press briefing for the Philippine media delegation at the Orchard Hotel in Singapore on April 27, 2018, announces that President Rodrigo Roa Duterte is set to reveal a course of action on the issue concerning the migrant workers in Kuwait. (ROBINSON NIÑAL JR./PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN)

“This is why we are very thankful to the government of Japan. Aside from giving preferential priority to Filipino workers for the requirements of their industries, our workers are assured of better benefits,” Bello said.

The labor secretary said that Japan chose the Philippines to be the first country to ink the agreement with “because of Japan’s high regard for the Filipinos.”

Aside from the Philippines, Bello said Japan is also set to take in workers from other countries like Vietnam, Cambodia, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Myanmar, Nepal, Mongolia and India.

Bello has estimated that Filipino workers would corner at least 30 percent of the 350,000 available jobs Japan will be opening to foreign workers effective April 1.

Under the guidelines on the deployment of foreign workers to Japan pursuant to the labor cooperation pact signed on March 19, the “specified skilled workers” will be deployed under two identified occupational categories: Specified Skilled Worker I and II.

The Specified Skilled Worker I are workers with first level of expertise and allowed to work in Japan for a maximum of five years while the Specified Skilled Worker II refers to workers with a higher level of specialization and allowed to work in Japan indefinitely based on the renewal of their employment contract.

Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA), as the country’s contact points in the accreditation of the workers’ deployment, will release the list of licensed recruitment agencies that are duly authorized to engage in the recruitment and placement of specified skilled workers.

Among the specified skills include those in health care, building maintenance, food services, industrial machinery, electronics, food manufacturing, agriculture, hospitality, construction, shipbuilding, fisheries and aquaculture, parts and tooling and aviation.

Interested applicants must be at least 18 years old, must possess considerable knowledge and skills or work experience, and must pass the Japanese Language Proficiency Test, which will be administered by Japan Foundation in the Philippines.

The applicant must also possess a passport valid for at least six months prior to the intended date of departure for the smooth facilitation of their possible deployment.