New ID Cards for Foreigners
OF INTEREST TO: All non-Japanese residing in Japan with residence permission, as of enactment of the new law (this has not yet ocurred).
My observations: new ID cards will mean more running around and more paperwork.
I don't know about you, but I think I already take enough time off from work for the visits to immigration in Shinagawa, which are always a minimum of half a day in length. Since the visas for my daughter and myself did not coincide regarding dates, it was quite often, too often in my opinion.
I wonder if the various Chambers of Commerce and Embassies are doing anything to advocate for us? Does anyone know?
Other parts of the proposed new law appear to be good, such as supporting the trainees' rights to minimum wages. I'm not so crazy about the headline. I don't see how the new card will make finding overstayers any easier. (I probably know some overstayed visa types. I do not know any criminals. As you can see, I don't morally equate over-staying a visa with being a criminal. Criminals are people who hurt other people viciously and on purpose. Overstayers are people who couldn't get a visa because they didn't fill the requirements, sort of like not getting a job because you don't have the right degree.)
[cached copy of Daily Yomiuri article]
The government intends to strengthen its efforts to prevent foreigners from staying here illegally by unifying administrative systems for foreign residents in the nation, according to a draft bill to revise the immigration law obtained by The Yomiuri Shimbun on Monday (February 16).
The draft legislation to revise the Immigration Control and Refugee Recognition Law states that the justice minister will issue new residence cards to aliens staying in Japan for mid- to long-term periods of time.
The current alien registration certificates issued by municipal governments will be abolished, and foreigners will instead use the new cards as identification.
The draft bill also includes provisions to imprison or deport people who forge the envisaged cards.
The government plans to submit the bill during the current Diet session, according to sources.
The new residence cards will carry the foreigner's name, date of birth, gender, nationality, address, status of residence and period of stay. The cards will be issued to aliens staying in Japan legally.
The cards will enable authorities to detect illegal stayers by checking whether they possess the cards.
The draft bill will require foreign residents to report to the Immigration Bureau any changes such as to their place of employment, school or address. Under the current law, foreign residents are required to report such changes only to municipal governments. However, this system has bogged down attempts by the Immigration Bureau to keep a comprehensive track of foreign residents.
The revised law also will allow the bureau to investigate, on a voluntary basis, institutions and other bodies that are responsible for helping foreigners enter the country.
So-called special permanent residents - Koreans living in Japan - will not be required to acquire the envisaged residence cards. Instead, new identification certificates will be issued to them.
To reduce the time and paperwork involved in renewal procedures, the draft bill calls for extending the period of stay to five years for aliens who are currently allowed to stay in Japan for up to three years.
The draft legislation also includes a provision to create a new status of residence for aliens coming to Japan on the government's foreign trainee system. It stipulates that the Minimum Wages Law and other labor-related laws will be applied to such foreign trainees.
The foreign trainee system is aimed at transferring Japan's technical expertise to other countries. Under the system, foreign trainees participate in workshops and training programs at companies for up to three years.
However, the system has been criticized because some companies take advantage of these trainees by making them work excessively long hours for low pay. For the first year of their stay, the foreign trainees are not officially recognized as laborers, and therefore they fall outside the reach of labor-related laws.
Meanwhile, the status of residence for international students will no longer be divided into "college students," who attend a college or advanced vocational school, and "pre-college students," who attend a high school or Japanese language school. Under the envisaged new system, the two categories will be integrated to allow foreign students to skip procedures to change their status of residence when they go on to higher education.
Debito's Blog - includes interesting comment on the proposed name of the new card: ôstayüE(zairyuu), rather than ôresidencyüE(zaijuu)
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