Malaysia bids to send trained workers to Japan under new visa scheme

Malaysia and Japan are aiming to strike a deal as early as July, when Human Resources Minister M. Kulasegaran visits Tokyo to sign a memorandum of cooperation. — Reuters pic
Malaysia and Japan are aiming to strike a deal as early as July, when Human Resources Minister M. Kulasegaran visits Tokyo to sign a memorandum of cooperation. — Reuters pic

KUALA LUMPUR, May 12 — Malaysia is planning to send skilled workers to Japan under the new visa programme the latter launched on April 1.

In the scheme, Malaysia will be the 10th nation approved to provide workers to Japan after the Philippines, Cambodia, Myanmar, Indonesia, Thailand, China, Vietnam, Nepal and Mongolia.

According to Kyodo News, the two countries are aiming to strike a deal as early as July this year, when Human Resources Minister M. Kulasegaran visits Tokyo to sign a memorandum of cooperation.

“We are working with the Japanese government to formulate a MOC on sending workers to Japan as they have opened up 14 sectors to foreigners,” a Malaysia government official familiar with the negotiations told Japanese news portal Kyodo News.

“We are hoping to sign it in Japan in July. It’s in the final stages, hopefully, it can be done,” the official said.

The two sides have not yet agreed on which sectors will be open to Malaysian workers, the official said, adding that the scheme could potentially open up 50,000 jobs in Japan for Malaysians.

The official said Putrajaya must help those willing to go abroad to earn a better salary albeit temporarily. He said a small study showed Malaysians are excited at the prospect of earning a higher salary.

Immigration has long been a taboo subject in Japan as many prefer ethnic homogeneity, but the reality of an ageing, shrinking population is challenging such views.

In order to curb immigration issues such as worker exploitation, the Japanese government has set up laws requiring employers to pay wages equivalent to or higher than those of Japanese nationals.

Their payment should be made directly to workers’ bank accounts so that the records will serve as evidence they are properly paid.

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