India and Japan on Monday signed a Memorandum of Cooperation (MOC) on Specified Skilled Workers (SSW) that will allow 14 categories of Indian ‘skilled workers’ to work in Japan. SSW is a new status of residence created by Japan in 2019 under which skilled foreign nationals can obtain jobs and stay in the country.
The MOC was signed between India’s foreign secretary Harsh Shringla and Japan’s envoy to India Suzuki Satoshi. With the signing of the pact, the Japanese and Indian governments agreed to create a mechanism through which Indian nationals can be smoothly dispatched to Japan under the SSW framework.
Speaking at the signing ceremony, Japan’s envoy said, “With the MOC we are going to sign, new opportunities will be open for Indian nationals to get employment in Japan.”
The memorandum sets a framework between the Japanese and Indian government allowing information sharing in order to protect Indian nationals coming to Japan as SSW and facilitate a smooth implementation of the SSW system.
The Indian foreign secretary said, “With an early operationalization of this MoC, both our countries can synergize our strengths and have mutually beneficial outcomes. In the implementation of the SSW, the Indian side looks forward to working closely with the Japanese side to ensure that we can meet our objectives smoothly and quickly.”
Under the system, a person must be proficient in the Japanese language in daily life and his maximum period of stay can be 5 years in total. The 14 specified industry fields include caregiving, building cleaning, material processing, industrial machinery manufacturing, electric and electronic information, construction, shipbuilding and ship-related industry, automobile maintenance, aviation, lodging, agriculture, fisheries, food and beverages manufacturing, and food services industry.
The development comes even as Japan faces a declining population and an aging society. India has one of the youngest populations in the world, which is can help to increase the economic productivity of any society.
Indian PM Modi had placed a high priority on quickly operationalizing this MoC and the current PM of Japan Yoshihide Suga when he was the chief cabinet secretary was one of the prime movers of the program to address his country’s need for a skilled labor market.
This is not the first such India Japan skilled related progamme. In 2016 both sides agreed on ‘Manufacturing Skill Transfer Promotion Programme’ for training 30,000 persons over 10 years with Japanese style manufacturing skills and practices.
In 2017, both sides signed, “Technical Intern Training Programme” agreement that enables Indians to access internships in Japan. So far, 200 interns have been placed in Japan under the intern training programme.