An overview of the specified skills in the food and beverage manufacturing industry and the work covered

2021/6/24 Updated

In recent years, hiring and accepting foreign workers has become one of the hottest topics for companies to focus on.

In this article, I will explain about “food and beverage manufacturing” among the “special skills,” which is one of the residence statuses.

If you are in the food manufacturing industry and are experiencing a shortage of human resources, or if you are considering hiring foreigners, please refer to this article.

What is “Specified Skills: Food and Beverage Manufacturing”?

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First, let me explain about “specific skills.

Specific skills are one of the statuses of residence (also called work visas) granted to foreign nationals.

The features are summarized below.

  • Relatively new residency status established in April 2019.
  • Divided into 14 “specific industrial sectors
  • Foreigners who possess “Specified Skills” can work in jobs according to their respective fields.

In addition to the above, it is also important to understand the nature of the industry in which you are working.

Among the resident statuses with the above characteristics, the one that allows you to engage in the food and beverage manufacturing industry in general is “Specially Skilled Food and Beverage Worker.

Work that can be performed by obtaining the “Specified Skills Food and Beverage Manufacturing” certificate

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Foreigners who have acquired “Specific skills for food and beverage manufacturing” are allowed to work in the food and beverage manufacturing industry in general (manufacturing and processing of food and beverage products (excluding alcoholic beverages), safety and hygiene).

It is also possible to work in support of related work being done by Japanese.

Specifically, you can engage in work performed by businesses that fall under the following Japan Standard Industrial Classification.

  • Food manufacturing
  • Manufacture of soft drinks
  • Tea and coffee production
  • the ice industry
  • Confectionery retailing (manufacturing and retailing)
  • Bread retailing (manufacturing and retailing)
  • Retail of processed food products such as tofu and kamaboko

Reference: Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Food Industry Bureau: Proficiency Test for Food and Beverage Industry https://www.maff.go.jp/j/shokusan/sanki/soumu/attach/pdf/tokuteiginou-26.pdf

If you wish to hire a foreigner who has acquired “Specific Skills: Food and Beverage Manufacturing”.

Some of the food and beverage manufacturing companies mentioned above may be considering accepting foreign workers to solve their labor shortage.

If you would like to hire a foreigner who has acquired “Specific Skills: Food and Beverage Manufacturing,” you need to take the following steps.

  • To become a member of the “Council for Specific Skills in the Food Industry” and provide necessary cooperation.
  • Direct employment of foreign workers (temporary employment contracts are not acceptable)

What is the Japan Food Industry Specified Skill Council?

The Food Industry Specified Skill Council is an organization established to ensure the proper operation of the specified skill system in the food and beverage manufacturing industry and food service industry.

The objectives of the council are set out below.

> In addition to promoting closer cooperation among the members, disseminating systems and information, and raising awareness of legal compliance, we will grasp the situation of labor shortage in each region and take necessary actions, etc. The food and beverage manufacturing sector and the food service sector have jointly established this organization.

Source: Expanding the Acceptance of Foreign Human Resources in the Food and Beverage Manufacturing Sector: Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries ( https://www.maff.go.jp/j/shokusan/sanki/soumu/tokuteiginou.html )
)

When to join the council

You need to join the council within four months of accepting your first foreigner with specified skills.

The subscription is done after the foreign worker is accepted.

It is not necessary to join before acceptance.

Reference: Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Food Industry Bureau: Proficiency Test for Food and Beverage Industry https://www.maff.go.jp/j/shokusan/sanki/soumu/attach/pdf/tokuteiginou-26.pdf

The process for a foreigner to obtain “Specified Skills: Food and Beverage Manufacturing

There are two routes for foreign nationals to obtain the specified skills, food and beverage manufacturing.

  1. test path
  2. Technical training route

Let’s explain it in detail.

1. Test route

By passing the following two exams, you can obtain the Specific Skills Food and Beverage Manufacturing certification.

  • Proficiency Test: “Food and Beverage Manufacturing Proficiency Measurement Test
  • Japanese Language Test: “The Japan Foundation Basic Japanese Language Test” or “Japanese Language Proficiency Test (N4 or higher)

This is the most common route for domestic residents (foreign students, etc.) other than new foreign nationals and technical interns who plan to enter Japan.

2. Technical training route

If you successfully complete Technical Internship 2 as a technical intern, you will be exempted from the skills and Japanese language tests, and you will be able to obtain the Specific Skills Food and Beverage Manufacturing Certificate.

The outline of the technical training system is as follows

The technical internship system is a system in which foreign technical trainees enter into an employment relationship with a training provider in Japan, such as a company or individual employer, to acquire and master skills that are difficult to acquire in their home country.
Under the technical training system, foreign technical trainees enter into employment relationships with companies, private employers, and other training providers in Japan, in order to acquire, master, and perfect skills that are difficult to acquire in their home countries. The maximum period of training is five years, and the acquisition of skills is based on a technical training plan.

Source: About the Technical Intern Training System for Foreigners | Supporting the Smooth Operation of the Technical Intern Training System for Foreigners | JITCO – Japan International Cooperation Agency for Human Resources (formerly Japan International Training Cooperation Agency) ( https://www.jitco.or.jp/ja/regulation/ )

Reference: Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Food Industry Bureau: Proficiency Test for Food and Beverage Industry https://www.maff.go.jp/j/shokusan/sanki/soumu/attach/pdf/tokuteiginou-26.pdf

Summary: Hiring Foreigners with the Right Knowledge

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Foreigners who possess the status of residence “Specially Designated Skills” are qualified to be recognized by the government.

The company that hires you should also make sure that you meet the requirements and sign an employment contract under terms that are acceptable to both parties.

It is also necessary to understand foreign workers to understand how they acquired the specified skills.

For example, there may be some foreign workers who have acquired the specified skills of food and beverage manufacturing through the examination route, but this is the first time for them to actually work in Japan.

It is important to consider employment after giving appropriate and sufficient consideration to the worker.

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