Eased work rules are lifeline for foreign ex-students stuck in Japan
Japan Times -- Oct 23
When the COVID-19 pandemic decimated her family’s cattle farming business in Vietnam earlier this year, one 23-year-old foreign student who had spent around 18 months in Japan was soon left without the funds her family usually sent to cover her university tuition fees.

With Hanoi under a complete lockdown from February through April, she couldn’t return home. Forced out of the university’s animation studies program and no longer considered a student, she couldn’t work legally in Japan, either. Running out of money to live on, by September she could no longer pay rent and had to move to a nonprofit shelter.

So while a decision by immigration authorities on Monday allowing former students stuck in Japan to work up to 28 hours a week didn’t make big headlines, it was a moment of jubilation for the Vietnamese former student and others who share her predicament.

Vietnamese nationals make up the second-largest cohort among foreign students in Japan, with 73,389 enrolled on courses last year. The exact number of former students from overseas whose lives have been upended by the virus is unclear, but it is understood to be increasing.

Over the past eight years the number of foreign students in the nation has nearly doubled, totaling over 310,000 as of May last year. Many of them work part time, providing an essential workforce in convenience stores and restaurant chains as Japan’s own population rapidly grays and shrinks.

News source: Japan Times
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