Japan works to curb charges Vietnamese trainees pay to brokers

August, 01/2022 - 08:15
Japan is creating a website that will allow Vietnamese to apply for apprenticeships in the country, as it hopes to cut out unscrupulous brokers that charge exorbitant fees, reported Nikkei Asia.
Vietnamese trainees work in Japan. — VNA/VNS Photo

TOKYO — Japan is creating a website that will allow Vietnamese to apply for apprenticeships in the country, as it hopes to cut out unscrupulous brokers that charge exorbitant fees, reported Nikkei Asia.

The website, to be created by the government affiliate Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), will list all the information about trainee opportunities in the country. Candidates can browse information but will still have to apply through local institutions.

The aim is to revamp operations of Japan's technical trainee programme, which has been created as a way of inviting young Asians to the country which is facing severe labour shortages. But the system has been exploited by brokers who act as middlemen between candidates and Vietnamese institutions. Trainees become heavily indebted even before arriving in Japan.

The new web-based job matching system will go on trial sometime after April next year and is expected to become fully operational in 2024. Under Japan's traineeship programme, Vietnamese institutions, approved by the government, are responsible for recruiting the candidates and offering basic language lessons.

Currently, applicants end up paying fees to those institutions and the brokers. Japan's new website will not only list opportunities for apprenticeships, but also information such as location, wages, and holiday entitlement.

After browsing that information, candidates can apply directly to institutions in Việt Nam, without going through brokers. Around 17 per cent of Vietnamese workers used brokers to get onto a traineeship position, paying an average 446,000 yen (US$3,350) each.

The system is also designed to address complaints from trainees that they were made to work under terms different from their expectations. The system is expected to increase transparency.

The website will also allow those who have secured a position to record the fees they have paid to the institution. The Vietnamese Government will monitor the amounts charged by institutions and ensure that trainees are not paying excessively.

However, there are as many as 500 such institutions in Việt Nam and it is up to them whether to use Japan's new system.

As of end-2021, there were around 276,000 foreign trainees in Japan, with Vietnamese accounting for 58 per cent of the total. As many as 7,100 trainees left training and never returned to their home countries. Vietnamese accounted for more than 60 per cent of those.

Over half of the trainees come to Japan with some debt. On average, they owed 540,000 yen. Of those from Việt Nam, the ratio exceeds 80 per cent with an average debt of 674,000 yen. — VNS

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