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Japan immigration

Japan's skills test for foreign workers off to a rough start

First test for prospective restaurant workers to be given to just 338 applicants

The skills test for restaurant workers will be administered to 338 applicants in April, a tiny fraction of the 53,000 foreign workers the industry expects to hire over the next five years.

TOKYO -- Japan is relaxing work visa requirements in the food service industry to deal with a chronic labor shortage, but the number of workers who can take the first qualification exams will be limited because industry bodies responsible for developing the tests have not had enough time to prepare for the event.

The revised immigration control and refugee recognition act took effect on Monday. It introduces a new visa category that allows foreign workers employed in 14 types of jobs, including nursing care, restaurants and construction, to remain in the country for up to five years.

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