Foreigners make up 30% of new students at nursing care schools in Japan

The number of foreign students who entered schools that train state-certified care workers hit a record high of more than 2,000 this academic year, accounting for about 30 percent of all enrollees, it has been learned.

Behind the rise in foreign students is a growing interest in Japan’s nursing care field as the government moves to increase the employment of foreign workers. A growing number of schools are also seeking to attract foreign students through scholarships and other means, amid the declining number of young Japanese enrolling in such schools.

The Japan Association of Training Institutions for Certified Care Workers, a public incorporated body in Tokyo, conducted a survey on 361 institutions including universities and vocational schools that have training courses for certified care workers.

The survey found that 6,982 students enrolled in the schools this academic year, up 126 from the previous year. Of them, 2,037 were foreign students, nearly double the 1,142 who enrolled last academic year. The foreign students come from 26 countries, with Vietnam accounting for the highest percentage at about half, followed by China and Nepal.

A “nursing care” residence status was created under the revised Immigration Control and Refugee Recognition Law in 2017. Receiving certification as a nursing care worker helps foreign students find jobs in Japan. Students who obtain jobs after they study at training schools and pass the national examination can repeatedly renew their residence status, allowing them to work in Japan as long as they want.

The growing interest in studying in Japan also appears to be tied to the government’s efforts to expand the employment of foreign nationals by establishing the new residence status of “specified skilled worker.”

However, enrollments by people other than foreign students fell by 769 to 4,945.

“Amid the graying of the population, not enough effort is being made to attract young people to nursing care,” an official of the association said.

According to an estimate by the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry, the nation is expected to face a shortage of about 340,000 nursing care workers in fiscal 2025. In fiscal 2018, the number of people qualified to work in nursing care was about 1.62 million.

Source: The Yomiuri Shimbun
Published on 4 September 2019

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