From the Yomiuri Shimbun: http://the-japan-news.com/news/article/0005771506
The government will relax resident status requirements to make it easier for foreign graduates of Japanese universities or graduate schools to find a job in the hotel and restaurant businesses in Japan.
The government will enforce the measure on Thursday at the earliest by revising a Justice Ministry notification.
Currently, jobs available to foreign students who graduate from universities or graduate schools have been limited to professional jobs such as system engineer or interpreter.
These jobs fall under the resident status of “Engineer/Specialist in Humanities/International Services.”
A fiscal 2016 survey by the Japan Student Services Organization found that, of 23,946 foreign graduates, 15,325 wanted to work for companies in Japan but only 8,610 received job offers.
In response to the situation, the ministry will expand the scope of the “Designated Activities” residence status to include jobs that require smooth communication in Japanese, thus providing more job opportunities for foreign students in Japan.
The ministry expects graduates will work in such places as accommodation facilities, restaurants and factories.
To be eligible for the status after graduation, foreign graduates must meet certain criteria. These include being hired as a full-time regular employee, earning at least as much pay as Japanese workers, and passing the highest level of the Japanese-Language Proficiency Test (N1).
The status will not apply to lawyers, doctors or any other professions that fall under other statuses.
In principle, the status will allow foreigners to stay in Japan from one to five years and will be renewable.
The government’s goal is to increase the employment rate of foreign students to 50 percent. It predicts that the planned revision will enable several thousand more foreigners to find jobs in Japan.
Convenience store businesses in particular are eager to hire foreign students proficient in Japanese to alleviate labor shortages.