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The Dilemma Of The 28 Hour Weekly Working Cap

International Student Migrant Workers

The Dilemma Of The 28 Hour Weekly Working Cap (#7 of 7 part series)

A film director from Nepal has made a film about a Nepalese student who committed suicide in Japan. The person in question came to Japan after being tempted by an agent who suggested that there was easy money to be made, only to end up running out of finances due to living costs and tuition fees. The student worked hard so that his fiancé back home could join him in Japan, but long working hours at his part-time job on top of studies resulted in him becoming increasingly lonely and depressed.

It has been reported that a former Vietnamese student, 22, who agreed to help rob a drugstore was convicted of theft. The individual in question had come to Japan in 2013 after a parent back home got into debt. The student worked 28 hours a week at a factory preparing lunch boxes, but could not afford tuition fees for school and eventually had to drop out. Once his visa had run out, the student began to work illegally at a construction company for 800 yen an hour, but the 100,000 to 150,000 monthly wage wasn’t enough to cover debt repayments or buy medicine for his father, and that’s when this individual turned to crime.

There are people from developing countries such as Nepal and Vietnam who arrive in Japan not fully aware of the 28-hour weekly work restriction for international students. The number of agencies based overseas which arrange for students to come to Japan has been increasing and at the same time there has been a huge boom in the Japanese language school business. Most privately-funded students from developing countries cannot afford to study without part-time jobs. If they work less than the 28-hour weekly limit they will be short of money, but if they work over the limit they are at risk of being caught by authorities.

Parliament has considered reducing the 28-hour limit to just 20-hours so that students can focus on their studies. But this would mean that many international students could not cover living and school expenses. It would also have a big impact on companies that rely on international students for their workforce. On the other hand, if the government relax labour restrictions for students, the number of “student migrant workers” will increase.

Original article from Nishinippon Shimbun (12/21/2016).

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 7, 2017 / Last Updated: Jul 7, 2017