Language tests for Nepalis wanting to work in Japan to take place later this year

2019-07-23

The Kathmandu Post


KATHMANDU : Four months after the signing of a landmark labour agreement, which allows Nepalis to work in Japan, tentative dates for language and skill tests for aspiring workers have been fixed in October and November respectively. The tests are mandatory for Nepalis wishing to work in Japan. 

In March, Nepali and Japanese officials had signed an agreement that would allow Nepalis to work in the nursing sector in Japan.Post photo 
According to Umesh Dhungana, joint secretary at the Ministry of Labour, Employment and Social Security, the fixing of dates for Japanese language test and skill tests, both required to be cleared before working in Japan, has finally set things in motion.

“We have been informed that the language test will take place in the last week of October and the skill test will be conducted in around the first week of November,” Dhungana told the Post. “The exact dates are yet to be finalised; the dates communicated now are tentative.”

The aspirant candidates will be expected to demonstrate an A2 level of Japanese language proficiency, which is equivalent to ‘N4’ on the standardised Japanese Language Proficiency Test (JLPT). Students at the ‘N4’ level, which can be achieved with about 300 hours of learning, can understand conversations encountered in day-to-day life. However, the modality for conducting the test is still not clear.

“We know the level will be N4, but the details regarding the examination have not come out yet. 

There is still time for the examination to take place so we will have a modality before that,” added Dhungana.Besides clearing the language test, the candidates will also have to prove their competence in the job sector in which they are applying in Japan. 

Candidates will be again taking part in the sectoral language test, making it a total of three tests, according to Dhungana.To deal with their shortage of workforce, Japan had decided to hire an estimated 345,150 foreign workers from nine countries in 14 sectors over five years. Nepal is one of the nine countries, but it will only be hiring Nepali workers for the nursing care sector.

Since the negotiation started, the Japanese side has assured that workers from Nepal, which is the only South Asian nation on Japan’s list of hiring countries, will be on the priority list. However, despite the sector for Nepali workers being defined, the yearly quota—the maximum number of Nepali workers reaching the developed Asian country, which is considered one of the most lucrative labour destinations for Nepali workers in recent times—is still not fixed.

“We have inquired about the quota for Nepali workers. They have said that the number of workers going to Japan will be decided by the Japanese employer,” added Dhungana.