Category Archives: Vietnam

[Taiwan] Second batch of medical interpreters for immigrants complete training

Taipei, Nov. 28 (CNA) Twenty-six interpreters graduated recently from a training program offered by the New Taipei government with the goal of facilitating better communication between healthcare professionals and migrant workers who require psychological counseling, a labor official in the city said Thursday.

Tsai Chih-sung (蔡智松), a staff member in the foreign workers affairs section in the city’s Labor Affairs Department, said the 26 interpreters graduated on Nov. 9 from the Bilingual Interpreter Training Program of Mental Health Counseling that started in September.

The graduates will provide interpretation services to Indonesian, Vietnamese, Filipino, and Thai patients seeking psychological counseling services in Taiwan, Tsai said.

The goal is to help improve communication between migrant workers and healthcare staff, according to New Taipei Labor Affairs Department Commissioner Chen Jui-chia (陳瑞嘉).

“We also hope it will help close the cultural gap and make the interpreters more attuned of the health problems of migrant workers,” he said.

Janice Tee (鄭珍真), deputy director of the Serve the People Association (SPA) that provided the training, said migrant workers in Taiwan often fall victim to rape, sexual harassment, and physical abuse but find it difficult to communicate when they require psychological counseling.

SPA received reports from at least 30 female migrant workers of sexual harassment in 2018 and one report of rape this year, she said.

“These victims are often traumatized after such an ordeal and need professional psychological care, which requires the services of medical interpreters,” Tee said. “While the interpretation might not be 100 percent accurate, the goal is to minimize misunderstandings.”

The graduation of the 26 medical interpreters brings the total number in the program so far to 46, following the training of the first batch of 20 last year, Tee said.

The names of the 46 medical interpreters will be provided to hospitals and government agencies in Taipei, New Taipei, and Taoyuan that serve migrant workers, she said.

Currently, there 716,125 workers from Indonesia, Vietnam, Thailand, and the Philippines employed in Taiwan, mainly as factory workers, caregivers and domestic helpers, according to Ministry of Labor statistics valid as of the end of October.

Written by William Yen
Source: Focus Taiwan
Published on 28 November 2019

Vietnamese take advantage of Japan’s new skilled worker visa

Vietnamese account for the largest number of new skilled worker visas introduced in April, Japan’s immigration agency said.

The new visa policy introduced to ease Japan’s labor shortage had taken in 219 foreigners as of the end of September, with Vietnamese accounting for 93, Indonesians for 33, Filipinos 27, and Thais 23, the Immigration Services Agency said.

The Specified Skilled Worker visa allows holders to work in Japan without a professional qualification.

Before its introduction, all foreign workers were required to have specific qualifications such as an academic degree, special skill or work experience, meaning unskilled workers could not get a visa.

The new visa allows foreigners to work for up to five years in 14 sectors: caregiving, building cleaning management, machine parts and tooling, industrial machinery, electrical, electronics and information, construction, automobile repair and maintenance, aviation, hospitality, agriculture, fisheries and aquaculture, food services, and food and beverages.

Proficient workers in the construction and shipbuilding industries can extend their stay by earning the No.2 status, which allows them to bring in family members and renew their visas any number of times.

Japan’s aging population and low birthrate has caused a severe labor shortage.

The number of Vietnamese in Japan jumped by 26.1 percent last year to 330,835, or 8 percent of all foreign nationals, to make them the third largest ethnic group behind Chinese and South Koreans, the Japan Times reported in March.

The growing presence of Japanese companies in Vietnam has sparked interest among younger Vietnamese in getting technical training in Japan, the report said.

The Immigration Services Agency said Vietnamese overtook Chinese as the largest group of technical trainees last year after increasing by 30 percent to 164,499.

Written by Ming Nga
Source: Vietnam Express
Published on 16 November 2019

Japan’s Ibaraki prefecture to open door for more Vietnamese workers

Hanoi (VNA) – Ibaraki prefecture of Japan recently said that it wants to expand cooperation with the Vietnamese Government to ease the labour shortage by inviting more Vietnamese workers to the locality.

According to NHK Television of Japan, Governor of Ibaraki Oigawa Kazuhiko is scheduled to visit Vietnam from November 25-27 to sign a memorandum of understanding (MoU) between the two sides in this field.

The Mou will include the promotion of cooperation between the two sides so that both sides could make appropriate arrangements for deploying and receiving workers, assistance for human resources development, and creation of an environment so that Vietnamese can feel secure working in the locality, as well as support when they return to Vietnam.

Ibaraki is promoting measures to attract more workers from other countries. In April, the prefecture opened a support centre for foreign workers.

The prefecture mainly focuses on sectors of nuclear energy, precise mechanics and chemicals.

Source: Vietnam Plus
Published on 15 November 2019

Foreign students in Japan hold back on applying for newly created visas due to past illegal overwork

Many foreign students in Nagoya have recently been found to be reluctant to apply for newly created visas intended to bring more workers from abroad, fearing their applications might not be accepted because they have been working more part-time hours than permitted for those with student visas.

Even if they pass the exam for the new visas, they have strong concerns that their past work records could prevent them from obtaining the residence status, although such cases have not been confirmed so far.

Some international students and their employers say the problem lies in the fact that many foreign students have to work more than allowed to support themselves while in Japan, where the cost of living is high and businesses are relying on them to cover a labor shortage.

“I want to reduce my part-time work hours from now even if it might be too late,” said a 23-year-old Vietnamese man studying at a vocational school in Nagoya.

Hoping to work in the restaurant industry, the man passed a proficiency exam to qualify for the new “specified skills” visa in July, but people have told him he shouldn’t file a visa application with the Immigration Services Agency.

The man came to Japan in the fall of 2015 to study restaurant management. His mother got cancer the following year and he became unable to receive financial assistance from his parents.

He worked part time at a convenience store and a restaurant, working nearly double the maximum of 28 hours a week set for people on a student visa under the ordinance for the enforcement of the immigration control law.

“I needed to make a living by myself,” he said.

He has a dream of managing a restaurant in his home country and wants to work in the restaurant sector in Japan with the new visa to acquire know-how. But after passing the exam, he was told by a staffing agency that having worked excessive hours as a student might be a problem.

Now he works fewer hours and covers living expenses on ¥25,000 a month.

Jin Yokoyama, 49, of Jtown, a Nagoya-based company that supports workers with skills covered by the visa, said he has interviewed some 20 students who passed the qualifying exam, but most have not applied for the visa for fear of being rejected due to working illegally long hours.

A 29-year-old Nepalese man, who consulted another support firm in Nagoya, said his student visa renewal application was rejected because of excessive work hours. He has given up working in Japan with the new working visa and plans to go back to his home country.

“I want to work more in Japan, but it can’t be helped,” the man said.

An Immigration Services Agency official said that generally speaking, a person would not qualify for a visa if he or she violated the ordinance. “We are not sure how many applications were rejected because of overwork,” the official said.

The new residence status was created in April under the revised immigration control law. The government was expecting to accept a maximum of 47,000 workers in the current fiscal year across 14 business sectors, including nursing care and food services, but as of Oct. 25, only 732 people were granted the visa.

The number of people coming to Japan to study, especially from Asia, has increased sharply since the government announced a plan in 2008 to raise the number of foreign students to 300,000 by 2020.

According to the Japan Student Services Organization, the number of foreign students totaled some 299,000 as of 2018, 2.4 times higher than a decade ago.

Yuriko Sato, an associate professor at Tokyo Institute of Technology specializing in foreign student policy, said the number of students from China and South Korea declined after the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake, and instead more students started to come from Vietnam and Nepal.

This is because many Japanese-language schools and vocational institutions recruited students from those countries, telling them they can study while working, she said.

However, if they follow the rule of working up to 28 hours a week, they can earn only about ¥100,000 a month.

Several foreign students said there are cases of students working more than permitted — despite knowing that it is illegal — for various reasons, such as being unable to gain assistance from parents or being in debt.

“There is not one foreign student around me who is working only 28 hours,” said a 26-year-old Nepalese student in Nagoya.

Many of them have part-time jobs in two or more places, and some employers pay them using cash so that their work records won’t be kept.

“In busy times, I can’t run the place without them working long hours,” a restaurant owner said.

Tokyo Institute of Technology’s Sato said: “Instead of placing responsibility only on foreign students, we should focus more on structural problems.”

Source: The Japan Times
Published on 15 November 2019

[Taiwan] Talks on migrant workers ongoing

Taiwan is in talks with countries that supply migrant workers following an announcement in April that it would allow dairy farms to hire migrant workers on a trial basis.

The move is part of an effort to help address the country’s farm labor shortage, Minister of Labor Hsu Ming-chun (許銘春) said.

Hsu said last week that the Ministry of Labor launched the trial program to allow Taiwanese dairy farms to employ foreign workers from developing economies.

No workers have arrived in Taiwan yet because their employment contracts have not been verified by their home countries.

Hsu said that representatives from Thailand and Indonesia have made fact-finding visits to Taiwan to gain an understanding of Taiwan’s employment of agricultural workers.

According to the ministry, to protect migrant workers’ rights, their home countries require their employment contracts to be verified before allowing their workers to be employed abroad.

To date, Thailand has begun the process of contract verification, while Indonesia has agreed to allow its workers to take up employment in Taiwan’s agricultural sector and has given a sample employment contract to be reviewed by the ministry.

Taiwan has also reached a consensus with the Philippines on the employment of migrant farm workers, with the details still being discussed, the ministry said.

The ministry is also in talks with Vietnam on these matters, it added.

Taiwan currently has more than 700,000 migrant workers, ministry data showed.

Source: Taipei Times
Published on 12 November 2019

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