The Japanese government plans to give Filipino and Indonesian nurses and caregivers an extra year in the country to prepare for the qualifying exams, Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida said Tuesday. This measure is based on the current low passing rates of health care applicants from the two Southeast Asian countries who hope to gain employment in Japan.
This extension will benefit around 500 candidate nurses and caregivers who came to Japan without undergoing Japanese language training sessions that would have boosted their chances of passing the qualifying exams. The said applies to those who arrived in Japan in fiscal 2010-2012 without taking any Japanese language course, as well as to candidates who received short-term training of up to three months. The shortage of nurses and caregivers in Japan’s aging society has given a lot of these foreign candidates the chance to train and work in the country, but the language barrier, especially the use of kanji characters and technical terms in the exams, has been a major hurdle. The candidates study for the exams while working at Japanese hospitals and elderly homes, but still face extreme difficulty in passing the tests.
Currently, candidate nurses are allowed to stay three years and caregivers are allowed four years. These candidates need to pass the qualifying exams within the designated period or else return home. Since 2008, the Japanese government has accepted nurses and caregivers from Indonesia and the Philippines under the free trade agreements. If they pass the required qualifying exams, they will be able to work in the country.
[ via Kyodo News ]