TOKYO, April 26 (Xinhua) -- Japan's Immigration Services Agency said Friday that the first working visas under a new system will be granted to two Cambodian women.
The Cambodians, both in their 20s, have received notifications allowing them to work in the farming sector.
They have been staying in Japan under a state-sponsored technical internship program. After they were granted to change the status of their visas, they acquired the newly created residential visa called Specified Skilled Worker No. 1.
The immigration agency said by April 19 it has received applications from 23 people living abroad and four who are staying in Japan as trainees, including the two Cambodians.
The Japanese government launched the new visa system to introduce more foreign workers starting from April in order to address the country's severe labor shortage, easing its traditionally strict immigrant regulations.
The Immigration Services Agency was established on April 1 to supervise the process of visa inspections and help foreign workers settle in Japan.
The policy to introduce the new system, mainly for Asian countries including China, South Korea and Cambodia, was passed by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's government in December last year.
According to the policy package, Japan is expected to accept up to 345,150 foreign workers under the new scheme over a five-year period starting April, including 60,000 in nursing care.
Under the new scheme, blue-collar workers in sectors facing a labor crunch are able to obtain two new categories of visas.
One category allows workers to stay for up to five years without bringing relatives. More skilled workers in specific areas can stay in Japan for more than five years after renewing licenses and are allowed to bring family members.