The Justice Ministry has entered into the final stage of coordination on establishing a new agency in April 2019 to deal with an increase in foreign workers, ministry sources said.
At the Entry and Status Control Agency (tentative name), an immigration control department and residency management assistance department will be set up under the head of the agency, and about 300 immigration officers will be added.
The new agency will serve as a control tower for the nation’s immigration management, and crackdowns on illegal work will be toughened.
The government plans to introduce a new resident status for foreigners to work in such industries as nursing care and construction, which are suffering from a labor shortage. Under the new status, more foreign workers will be accepted in April next year. The number of foreign residents marked a record high at about 2.56 million as of the end of 2017, and the figure is expected to expand.
The number of inbound tourists is also rapidly increasing. The Justice Ministry has judged it will be difficult to deal with the increasing number of foreigners under the current system.
The ministry plans to reorganize the current Immigration Bureau, which is staffed with 4,870 officials, and upgrade it to an “agency” as a satellite organization of the ministry to strengthen its authority. The ministry will include the necessary expenses in its budgetary request for fiscal 2019.
An adjudication division and an enforcement division will be established at the planned immigration control department. The number of immigration control officers handling entries and departures, as well as immigration enforcement officers to crack down on illegal foreign residents, will increase to toughen immigration management.
In the planned residency management assistance department, a residency management division and residency assistance division are likely to be set up. The department will work with accepting companies and local governments so that the employment situation of foreign residents can be easily assessed. The department will also extend such support as language classes to develop better environments for foreign residents so they can work with ease.
It will also work out measures for the coexistence of Japanese and foreign residents.