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Fake Refugees

International Student Migrant Workers

Fake Refugees (#6 of 7 part series)

Cases are coming to light of Nepalese students paying around 1.3 million rupees (equivalent to 1.3 million yen) as an initial cost to agencies, which help make arrangements for them to study abroad in Japan. Contractors who work with Japanese language schools collect the tuition fees and boarding expenses (1 million rupees), the agents fee (100,000 rupees) and additional living costs (200,000 rupees) from the students. The average monthly salary of public servants in Kathmandu is around 30,000 rupees. While outlying 1.3 million rupees is a big task, it can prove worthwhile as it is possible to earn 300,000 rupees a month at a part time job in Japan. Thus, the purpose for coming to Japan is primarily to work rather than study. People in these kinds of situations can be described as “student migrant workers.” However, learning Japanese can prove tricky and moving to Tokyo (from Fukuoka) is a good option for international students who are looking for jobs.

It is possible to apply for asylum in Japan if there is danger of political conflict in an individual’s home country, and fear of persecution along the lines of race, religion, nationality, social standing, or political position. The number of refugees seeking residence in Japan has increased sharply in the last 10 years, with a peak of 7,586 people from 69 countries applying in 2015. People from Nepal accounted for the highest number of asylum seekers with 1,768. However, out of the 27 people from 11 countries who were granted status, only two came from Nepal. The results of refugee applications usually take 6 months to 1 year, with appeals for rejected cases taking 2 to 3 years to be processed and reconsidered. But, if an individual finds employment during the appeal process they can apply for a work visa. Many people are avoiding a discussion of the immigrant policy. Some former students are exploiting loopholes in the refugee system, while there are companies using these people to make up for shortages in the work force.

Original article from Nishinippon Shimbun (12/20/2016).

New Era of Immigration in Kyushu
The number of workers from abroad, including international students and technical interns in Japan, exceeded one million for the first time last year. This group of people form an indispensable component of the workforce, irrespective of the government’s position on immigration. Read more installments from this series here.

Published: Jul 3, 2017 / Last Updated: Jul 3, 2017