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Japan: Work to be Sharply Curtailed for Refugee Applicants

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The Justice Ministry plans to drastically restrict the work activities of people who apply for refugee status in Japan but actually just want to stay here to work, The Yomiuri Shimbun has learned.

The ministry plans to scrap the current practice under the refugee recognition system that allows all applicants for refugee status to start working six months after filing their application. The new practice, which could be introduced as early as in November, is expected to keep most of the applicants — whose number exceeds 10,000 annually — from working, and to drastically curb the rapidly growing number of submissions.

According to a source related to the ministry, it currently takes about 10 months to screen an application on average. But under the new practice, all applicants will undergo a “simple screening” within two months after filing and be classified into one of four categories.

People categorized as highly likely to be refugees will be allowed to work soon, without waiting six months. A senior ministry official expected that less than 1 percent of all applicants would be put into this category.

Those who are deemed to clearly not be refugees will be detained at one of the 17 immigration facilities across Japan after their period of stay expires. This category will include applicants who hold the status of student or technical intern, as well as people on short-term stays who give such reasons for their application as, “I was being hounded by a bill collector in my home country.”

The ministry also will not allow work, in principle, by people who were not recognized as refugees in an earlier application but filed again. They will be sent to immigration facilities after their period of stay expires … (read more)

via The Japan News

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