Demand for nursing care for the elderly and people with disabilities is high in Japan, which has the highest percentage of elderly citizens in the world. In order to solve its severe care worker shortage, Japanese government has made a series of strategies to expand acceptance of foreign workers.
A new Specified Skilled Worker visa has been established from April 1st, 2019 to allow about 345,000 foreign workers into 14 industries over the next five years, including nursing care.
For a foreign national who is currently residing in Japan or wants to live in Japan in the future, care work is definitely one of the perfect jobs not just for its great demand but also for your career plan. After mastering advanced Japanese care technologies, you will be a welcomed talent by any country, as well as your home country, as the aging society continues to be a world-wide problem.
A care worker or caregiver is responsible for providing basic support in daily life activities to clients, like elders or disabled person, as well as planning, implementing and monitoring their lifestyles to ensure that they can live a life of dignity. The workplace can be nursing facilities or clients' home.
For a technical intern trainee working as a care worker in Japan, the salary is around 150,000 yen per month, while for a Nursing Care or Specified Skilled Worker visa holder working as a regular care worker, yearly income is from 2,500,000 yen to 4,000,000 yen, and the amount can be up to 10,000,000 yen for a team leader, manager or director.
There are three kinds of visa allowing a foreign nation to enter Japan and engage in care work.
A revision of the Immigration Law of Japan from 2017 set up a work visa, called Nursing Care, for any foreigner who passes the National Exam for Care Worker Certification, which provides proof that he or she is a qualified professional to provide general living support for elderly and disabled person. With this certification, a foreigner can apply for or change to the Nursing Care visa to work in Japan long-term or permanently, as it has unlimited renewals. Moreover, one's spouse and children can be issued Dependent visa to enter Japan.
Currently there are many colleges or vocational schools supporting foreigners to change from a Student visa to the Nursing Care visa. They provide courses from Japanese language to nursing, medical skills and actual practice at nursing facilities. Note that one's Japanese language level should be at least N2 for a Student visa.
According to the new Technical Intern Training Act, 'Care Worker' occupations were added to the Technical Intern Training Program, which aims to contribute to developing countries by providing employment opportunities to people from these countries for a certain period of time and transferring skills, technologies, or knowledge to them.
If a foreign nation is accepted for a caregiving position by supervising organizations or individual enterprises in Japan, a technical intern training plan will be made and confirmed, then a Technical Intern Training visa can be applied for, which allows for a maximum period of stay for 3 years.
Note that one should at least have a N4 level of Japanese language ability and have relevant working experience or educational background in care work to be eligible for a Technical Intern Trainee.
As mentioned before, this is a newly established visa for migrating lower skilled foreign workers to work in Japan. Nearly all the industries in Japan have an urgent demand for simple labor forces like convenience stores, but now only 14 specified sectors are applicable. This visa allows a maximum stay up to 5 years in total.
If a foreigner passed Japanese language proficiency exam, including two tests: "Japan Foundation Test for Basic Japanese" and "Nursing Care Japanese Language Evaluation Test", and nursing care skills evaluation tests conducted by the MHLW (Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare) or has completed Technical Intern Training (b), and signed an employment contract with an accepting organization, he or she can apply for the Specified Skilled Worker visa. Though the Specified Skilled Worker (a) is impossible to bring family members to Japan, the Specified Skilled Worker (b) can.
If you have got your visa ready, then it's time to find a care worker job in Japan.
Searching the internet may be the quickest and most powerful way to look for a job opening. Quick Jobs Japan is unique one among all the job search websites as it is specialized for foreigners. All the job descriptions are only for foreigners and displayed in both English and Japanese, and can be searched by Japanese level and industry, with care work under Care/medical/welfare category.
Or if you don't like the bother of searching the internet, or need some career advice from professionals, a care work agency or recruitment agency is also a good choice. Register with an agency good at care work field, conclude all your work and educational experiences, and express your work expectations, then you can get introduced a suitable care worker job from the agency.
After applying for a job through a job search website or a care work agency, usually there will be an interview. Typical care work interview questions include: What do you think a care worker does? Can you provide an example of previous teamwork? Can you outline how you've dealt with a stressful experience?
While care workers are really in high demand, you still need to prepare well for these questions to ensure a successful interview. It's important to demonstrate that you have an affinity for care, for example having cared for a family member or friend.
After getting an offer, care work training will usually be provided by the employer before starting your job. It may be a common Care Certificate training, which usually takes 12 weeks for new staff and the content includes understanding your role, duty of care, working in a person-centred way and so on.