TOKYO -- Three Japanese companies will start offering housekeeping services provided by foreign workers, aiming to ease a labor shortage in a market expected to grow as more women enter the labor force.
The move comes in response to the end of a ban on foreign nationals as domestic workers in certain special economic zones. Duskin, Pasona and Poppins will obtain approval Wednesday from the central government and Kanagawa Prefecture. The service will launch in the prefecture as early as November, with plans to expand into Osaka Prefecture later.
Cooking, laundry, housecleaning and shopping are among the services that foreign workers can provide under the new regulations. At least a year of prior experience is legally required. Foreigners must be employed full-time and receive pay comparable to their Japanese counterparts. Part-time Japanese housekeepers are reportedly paid around 120,000 yen to 180,000 yen ($1,130 to $1,700) a month.
The three companies plan to hire workers from the Philippines under contracts running up to three years.
The market for household services is expected to sextuple from fiscal 2012 to 600 billion yen, reflecting a rise in dual-income families and seniors living alone. But the field suffers from a labor shortage.
General housekeeping services often cost 4,000 yen to 5,000 yen an hour. Bringing in foreign workers could improve service while lowering prices.