Image Caption: Women from the Philippines receive a warm welcome at Duskin Co. in Suita, Osaka Prefecture, on April 17. (Kazushige Kobayashi)
By YUKIKO NAGATOMI/ Staff Writer
SUITA, Osaka Prefecture–Women from the Philippines are on track to become the first housekeepers to work in Osaka under eased immigration regulations that allow foreign nationals to enter Japan as maids.
Eight women, ranging in age from 25 to 38, met their employer, Duskin Co., based in Suita, Osaka Prefecture, for the first time on April 17.
After two weeks of training, they will begin work as domestic helpers at customers’ homes in May in Osaka and elsewhere.
“I would like to work thinking of my children’s future,” said Malou Buenaventura, 35. She left her daughter, 10, and son, 8, with her mother in the Philippines.
Until 2015, the immigration control law had prohibited, in principle, foreigners from entering Japan for the purpose of working as maids, although those already with spousal visas and other resident statuses could work in the industry.
Under revisions passed by the Diet in 2015, the Japanese government now grants resident status for maids if they meet such requirements as speaking a minimum level of Japanese and having more than one year of housekeeping service experience.
They are allowed to stay in Japan for up to three years and must work in National Strategic Special Zones, which are exempt from certain regulations and laws to promote economic or technological development in a specific field.
Osaka, Kanagawa Prefecture and Tokyo are National Strategic Special Zones for housekeeping services.
The special zones were established as part of the central government’s economic growth plan, namely enabling women to continue their careers or return to the work force and helping married couples by letting foreigners do their household chores.
Duskin and five other companies have applied for acceptance of about 150 Filipinas, and the number is expected to increase.