Japan to record immigrants’ ID numbers in employers’ reports

TOKYO (The Japan News/ANN) - Ahead of more foreign workers being accepted in Japan from April, the government is to require foreign workers’ residence card (see below) ID numbers in reports that their employers submit to the labour ministry, The Yomiuri Shimbun has learned. 

The move is aimed at preventing cases of illegal employment using forged residence cards. The Justice Ministry and the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry are discussing the envisaged revision, hoping to put it into force sometime within fiscal 2019. 

In October 2007, under the then Employment Measures Law, it became mandatory for employers of foreign residents — including technical interns and students who work part time — to submit to the labour ministry reports stating such information as employees’ names, types of residence status and nationalities in a given format. Employers must submit the report when foreign residents are hired as well as when they leave the jobs.  

Employers who fail to submit reports or submit false information face a maximum ¥300,000 (about $2,700) fine.

The Justice Ministry receives a list of reports once a month from the labour ministry. The Justice Ministry cross-checks the information on the list with the individual data it holds regarding residence status among other information. However, there have been cases in which some information were wrongly recorded in the employers’ reports, and as a result, the ministry was unable to confirm such information.   

In many cases, foreigners illegally working in Japan present their employers with forged residence cards stating they are allowed to work in the country. Many of such fake cards carry 12-digit ID numbers copied from existing legitimate cards.    

When the Tokyo Regional Immigration Bureau busted a hub making fake cards in Saitama Prefecture in January, cards it confiscated there were found to carry real ID numbers.      

If it becomes mandatory for employers to record residence card ID numbers of their foreign workers in their reports, it will enable the Justice Ministry to easily detect foreigners holding cards with the same ID numbers on the list as well as cross-check the information in the submitted reports with the ministry’s database, contributing to preventing possible illegal employment.   

The number of cases in which foreigners are found in the possession of forged residence cards or using such cards has been increasing, totalling 523 last year by the end of October. 

The Justice Ministry had been requesting the labour ministry to make it mandatory to include residence card ID numbers in employers’ reports. However, the labour ministry had been reluctant to do so, citing that such reports were meant to be documents used to provide advice or guidance to employers, and not for the purpose of confirming illicit acts. 

The passage of the revised Immigration Control and Refugee Recognition Law in December opened up the door to accepting more foreign workers in Japan. 

Regarding workers with specific skills — a new residence status created under the revised law — a maximum of about 340,000 immigrants are expected to be accepted in 14 sectors over a five-year period. 

Under such circumstances, however, there are growing concerns that the revised law could increase the number of such foreigners illegally working in Japan even after their periods of stay have expired, prompting the government to believe there should be measures to deal with the situation. 

The labour ministry will consult a relevant council on the matter before changing the ministerial ordinance that stipulates the format of the employers’ reports.  

■Residence card

An ID card that the government issues to foreigners staying in Japan for longer than three months. 


No photos has been attached.