You’d have to be living under a rock not to know that immigration is a hot topic worldwide. From Germany (Merkel) and the UK (Brexit!), to Japan (2% immigrants), and the US (Let’s build the wall!), every country is discussing (erm, arguing about) immigration policy.

Since we’re fairly aware of what’s going on in our own country here in the United States – unless you refuse to watch the news like myself (I only listen to radio…is it really any better?) – Fluency Corp staff has decided to first go north, then go south and then go waaaaaay east.

We’ll start with a 14-hour direct flight from Dallas to Tokyo. What is the status of expats in Japan?

A History of Immigrants in Japan

From 2014 until now, foreign workers in Japan have doubled: currently hovering just under 2 million. Why the sudden change of heart Japan?

In Japanese history, allowing foreigners in has not been its forte.

These 2 million are made up of (some, not all) students coming over on a visa or those coming over for a technical trainee program. But Japan doesn’t acknowledge these people as immigrants, as they will only be staying a short amount of time. What some don’t know is that there is actually a way to extend your visa, again and again, even possibly allowing the students or workers to say in Japan, if they pass a language test and/or a skills test. This is huge for Japan!

Language Skills and Determination can Lead to Success in a New Country

By 2045, the Japanese workforce will have shrunk (reportedly) by 23%. And did you know that there are 3 jobs open for every 1 applicant looking for a job? Yikes! This pain has caused Japan to try some things they never have before. They will be a new ruling that will allow up to 345,000 low-skilled workers into the country over the next 5 years. This seems like very few, and honestly, it is, but it’s most definitely a start.

And who will be taking these low-skilled jobs? Well, not all workers will come from Vietnam, but many will. In the Bloomberg Businessweek article, “Japan Nudges the Door Open” by Jason Clenfield, he tells the story of one such Vietnamese worker, Van Linh Nguyen, that left Vietnam in order to start a work in construction in Japan.

In short, Nguyen took a huge chance by applying to work in Japan, borrowing 1.5 million yen from family and from the bank for language classes, airfare and more. Currently, he does well in Japan. He says in Japan, “It’s easy.”

Throughout the centuries, immigrants have moved for better pay, better resources, or better conditions. One critical factor for success is knowing the foreign language by taking in person language classes like Nguyen. If you’re going to the USA, start prepping like Nguyen did, and make sure to take English classes at your office or at home, or even online to save money, before you move, so that you do not start from zero in the new country.

We’d love to talk with you more about how you, or your company’s employees, or their families, can learn English at the  office or online at home. For a free consultation, contact us at getfluent@tangramskysandbox.com or (800) 401-3159. Read success stories at fluencycorp.com/testimonials/.