Work and study in Japan under JPEPA (Caregiver and Nurse)
Recently, there are circulating news about Japan hiring Filipino skilled workers particularly in field of medical/ health care services: Nurse and Caregivers. This is actually an ongoing economic agreement between the Philippines and Japan for almost a decade already. Part of the agreement is that Japan opens its two sectors, the hospital and aged-care facilities, to foreign workers. The laws regulating this program have been getting better and better as the years passed-by. However, Japan’s government is also looking into getting the program more efficient yet effective. This means they consider cutting the costs while assisting accepted applicants from studying basic Japanese, providing all the needs of the candidates during the language study course under TESDA [in Philippines] and JICWELS [in Japan; Jicwels- the direct government employer of applicants] up to the assistance they provide through the hospitals and facilities until the nurse or caregiver candidate takes the licensure or board exam.
On the news broadcasted by PTV (a Philippine government TV network), it was mentioned that Japan is looking into hiring thousands of Filipino health care workers. To be sure, I verified this news at POEA’s official website, it showed that the last hiring of Nurses/ Caregivers was last July 2016. There are also circulating posts mostly on facebook that few private agencies connected to POEA conduct the hiring / manpower pooling. But BEWARE because POEA’s site announced that there is no advise yet from Japan government regarding the allowed agencies to process the hiring. POEA also released a warning against those agencies who are already -illegaly- hiring Filipino nurses and caregivers bound for Japan.
A news from GMA News was released today, announcing POEA has already opened the HIRING OF FILIPINO NURSE and CAREWORKER.
(For the news’ video please proceed at the end of this post, for some instance it is not allowing me to embed the video in the middle of this post.)
Check this video news from GMA’s facebook page. I am trying to open POEA’s website to verify the information but it is not loading, maybe there is too much traffic. Will post update later.]
>>filing is until MAY 31, 2017. ( I haven’t verified this myself but an applicant told me so.)
*candidate – term they use for accepted applicants.
What is JPEPA? , more on this link wikipedia.
Read this warning from POEA: Warning on illegal recruitment of caregivers for Japan
It is true that Japan is in dire need of health care providers because of the rising population of the elederlies yet only few Japanese apply for the said jobs. The EPA program initially hired Indonesian, followed by Filipino and just recently Vietnamese. To be a nurse candidate a three year experience is required and four year bachelor graduate or care-giver graduate for caregiver candidates. Also zero experience/ under-board nurses were allowed to be a caregiver candidate. But the qualifications have been downgraded lately to allow more applicants. They want someone who is 100% willing to finish the program and if possible but not required to pass the Japan board exam for Nurse and Caregiver (Kangofukushishi/Kaigofukushishi)
To be a JPEPA candidate – is a good opportunity because of many reasons but is also accompanied by great deal of draw backs.
(faces have been blurred for privacy purposes)
Japan training center (Osaka)
- Only POEA (Philippine government agency) and JICWELS (Japan government agency) facilate this program.
- The hiring process is organize.
- For those who love and want to know more about the puzzling nature and culture of Japan and Japanese, this chance to study and immerse in their culture is a good opportunity.
- No money needed to be accepted as a candidate.
- Everything is FREE. Japan government render its full assistance during the candidate’s Japanese language training all the way until a candidate will be able to pass the Japan licensure exam for nurse or caregiver.
- Few months of plain Japanese language study conducted at TESDA prior to arrival in Japan for another Language study. ALL FREE, transportation, medical examination and with ALLOWANCE.
- If you passed the medical exam while in the Philippines, the papers like visa, work permit and travel itineraries will be processed by the staff of JICWELS or the facilitators. Everything is spontaneous.
- An extension of half a year or a year is implemented for Japanese language study in Japan before a candidate proceeds to his/ her facility or hospital. This is the FAVORITE part of the candidates.
- Candidates are in-housed in a training center that looks like a hotel with training facilities. Everyone gets to have their own room with bathroom and a tub. Meals are provided three times a day in a buffet style. And bonus is the ALLOWANCE given every month.
- The training center also have karaoke rooms, party rooms and gym. Everything, everywhere during the training is convenient.
- During the study in Japan, it will be a combination of the language used daily and medical terms. Students are engaged to a conversation with Japanese volunteers.
- This is the time where candidates are allowed to do home visit if invited by a Japanese host.
- Everyone is allowed to go out during rest days or even after class but curfew regulated.
- The training center does not only cater JPEPA candidates but also other foreigner trainees, so you get to encounter other nationalities.
- Though it is said that a hired nurse or caregiver candidate is already priced or paid by the Japan government for a certain amount that is used for the training and all the studies until the exam, every candidate has their own will if they choose to continue or not even with a signed contract.
- During the in-house study in Japan, everyone also receive same benefits as the Japanese just like the health insurance.
- Though the processing of different documents for legalities is complicated the facilitators will be fully assisting everyone. A JPEPA candidate does not hold a working visa but rather a tokutei katsudou visa or designated activities- which prohibits a candidate from doing other jobs than the specified job.
- To learn a new language (which is considered difficult) can be considered as a long term investment and a treasure that cannot be taken away from you.
- Even if you don’t plan to settle in Japan, your Japanese proficiency will lead you to good paying jobs or other opportunities.
- The experience you acquire during the stressful work-study days will have a great impact in your growth.
- The books, training, exams, fares to training, accommodation are all provided.
- Japan is only 4 hours flight from the Philippines. And cheap fares are available.
- JPEPA candidates are privileged and can easily sponsor their families to visit Japan.
- As a candidate your visa is renewed yearly but after passing the board exam the visa status will be different and extends up to three years.
- Travel opportunities. (during the in house language training days, candidates are given free tour to few famous spots.)
- If you hold whatever visa released by Japan, there are countries that you can travel visa-free even using a Philippine passport (like Taiwan and the possibility of getting approved when applying travelling visa to different countries).
- If you have a job prior to being accepted as a candidate, that would require you to leave your job to be able to attend the in-house Japanese language training at TESDA.
- Being accepted does not mean assurance of proceeding to the next step which is traveling to Japan. Medical exam in the Philippines takes place during the last weeks of the study in TESDA, even if you did great on your Japanese language classes but if you failed the medical exam you will not be allowed to continue the program.
- During the flight to Japan, since the tickets are purchased by the facilitator you are not allowed to add extra kilos on your baggage. You need to really sort out your basic clothes and necessities because you will be required to bring all your books and notes.
- Though the training in Philippines is composed of Japanese instructors, there are also Filipino teachers and most of the staff are Filipino. But in Japan, everyone is Japanese and only few are able to speak English and most of the time they don’t encourage use of english for training purposes. So, if you don’t find the language interesting it will be a BIG BIG challenge.
- Japanese itself is difficult. Kanji, Hiragana and Katakana. BUT Filipinos are good at adopting the pronunciation.
- The training center in Japan is housing different nationalities, thus caution is needed because sometimes there ate misunderstanding and harm.
- Filipino and Japanese have a huge gap and difference, especially on values and way if thinking. Imagine the storm this will cause to a culture and Filipino values-centered Filipino.
- Japanese work ethics; senpai-kouhai (senior-newbie) culture, relationship building is different from that of Filipinos or western style.
- Just like Japanese employees, JPEPA trainees have the right to avail a number of paid leave days (usually 10 days and gets longer year after year) a year supported also by the signed contract. But this varies on the hospital you are in, some may allow you some may not. Considering Japanese workers are also apprehensive with long days being away from work. You should check this before you sign the contract.
- It’s never a joke to prepare for the board exam when they only allow trainees few chances.
- Even if you are called candidate, the other staff at your work place will not consider you as a trainee but rather you equal to them. Prepare to do tasks you don’t expect.
- During the study course in Japan, everyone is pampered and well taken care of. Thus, will make the candidate shocked or frustrated or hard to cope up when transferred already to his/her facility/ hospital.
WHAT CAN I SAY:
- Always follow the laws and rules during the training because failure to do so affects the next batches of candidates. It might lead to more stricter policies.
- Adopt the culture, embrace the areas where you think is right and contributes to your growth but don’t forget your own values. Practice to combine the ones that you used to have and the ones you just learned.
- Japanese are one of the best nationalities you’ll ever meet, or if you are lucky to be able to build a friendship with. Treasure the trust they give you. First impression matters to them.
- If you are maligned speak up (politely), find someone you trust to vent out your thoughts.
- Do your best to finish the program you entered (being a jpepa) because you were bought for a great amount of price when you were hired. The government and people around you already invested on you.
- Do not expect everyone to be nice to you. People may or may not like you, remember everyone has their own battles-learn to understand.
- Three years is not that long, invest on your Japanese language proficiency which you can have for the rest of your life and might open new opportunities for you.
- Japanese system is very clear, concise, convenient and not corrupted. Know your rights as a foreign worker. Process the tax refunds by yourself because no one will do that for you unless the hospital you are working will assist you.
- If stopping is unavoidable, before going back to the Philippines or exiting Japan. PLEASE settle your bills, leave a money on your bank book that can cover all your remaining bills. And NEVER exit without settling your contract with your MOBILEPHONE provider. Pay for contract termination or ask your provider for an advise. Do NOT escape, because of this issue Japan’s phone companies have been imposing strict rules to foreigners wishing to sign contract with them.
I know there are still a lot of facts and points that can be added to this. Feel free to share your ideas and experience.