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BD to tap G7 labour market next year through Japan

27 January 2022

Business Desk :
Bangladesh is eyeing to tap the Japanese labour market by next year, and in this regard, has already begun grooming a good number of Bangladeshi youths with the necessary skills.
"To tap the Japanese labour market, some 30 technical training centres [TTCs] across the country under the Bureau of Manpower, Employment and Training [BMET] are offering the youths necessary training and a six-month course on Japanese language and culture," said Engineer Md Salah Uddin, director of Training Operation at the Bureau of Manpower Employment and Training.
"Covid-19 has delayed the recruitment of Bangladeshi youths into the Japanese market for the last two years," he added.
But Uddin is optimistic that the situation will change within the next one year.
"Bangladeshis, trained in Japanese language and culture and with proper vocational training, will cater to the G-7 market next year," the BMET official also said.
However, a leading manpower exporter of the country was not as optimistic, saying instead that the training and teaching methods need improvement and the duration of courses should be extended up to a year.
Bangladesh has sent a total of 2,232 workers to Japan from 1999 to 2021 - just 0.02% of its total manpower exports.
The government is now conducting six-month-long training sessions on spoken Japanese language at 30 TTCs.
Engineer Md Lutfor Rahman, principal of the Bangladesh-Korea TTC at Darussalam, Mirpur, said trained teachers are conducting the courses.
"The courses started back in 2017. The duration of the course is six months. Every batch has 70 students and the course fee is only Tk1,000," he said.
In a significant shift for a country long closed to immigrants, Japan is looking to allow foreigners in certain blue-collar jobs to stay indefinitely, starting as early as the 2022 fiscal year, an official from the Ministry of Justice said last year.
Under a law that took effect in 2019, a category of "specified skilled workers" in 14 sectors, such as farming, construction, and sanitation have been allowed to stay for up to five years, but without their family members.

The government had been looking to ease those restrictions, which had been cited by companies as among the reasons that they were hesitant to hire such help.
If the revision takes effect, such workers - many from Vietnam and China - would be allowed to renew their visas indefinitely and bring their families with them, as the other category of more skilled foreigners is allowed to do now.
Immigration has long been a taboo in Japan as many prize ethnic homogeneity, but pressure has mounted to open up its borders due to an acute labour shortage given its dwindling and ageing population.
"As the shrinking population becomes a more serious problem and if Japan wants to be seen as a good option for overseas workers, it needs to communicate that it has the proper structure in place to welcome them," Toshihiro Menju, managing director of think-tank Japan Centre for International Exchange, told Reuters.
The 2019 law was meant to attract some 345,000 "specified skilled workers" over five years, but the intake hovered at about 3,000 per month before the Covid-19 pandemic sealed the borders, according to government data.
As of late 2020, Japan hosted 1.72 million foreign workers out of a total population of 125.8 million, about 2.5% of its working population.
Meanwhile, Tokyo on August 27, 2019 signed a memorandum of cooperation (MoC) with Dhaka to recruit skilled Bangladeshi workers.
Under the MoC, Japan would recruit skilled workers for its 14 sectors including care-giving, building cleaning management, machine-parts industries, electronics, construction, shipbuilding, automobile and agriculture.

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