Japan Opens Doors for Taxi Drivers and Railway Workers under Specified Skilled Worker Visa Program

Tokyo, Japan – In a move to address labor shortages in the transportation sector, Japan has expanded its Specified Skilled Worker (SSW) visa program to include taxi drivers and railway workers. This change, effective immediately, opens doors for foreign nationals with relevant experience to obtain work visas and contribute to Japan’s growing economy.


The SSW program was established in 2019 to attract foreign professionals with specialised skills in designated industries. Previously, the program focused on sectors like nursing care, construction, and shipbuilding. The addition of taxi drivers and railway workers reflects the government’s recognition of the need for qualified personnel in the transportation industry.


“This is a positive step towards filling crucial roles in our transportation network,” said a spokesperson for the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism. “We believe the SSW program will attract skilled individuals who can provide safe and efficient services to the public.”

What it means for foreign workers

Foreign nationals interested in working as taxi drivers or railway workers in Japan can now apply for the SSW visa if they meet specific criteria. This may include passing skills tests, possessing relevant work experience, and demonstrating a certain level of Japanese language proficiency. The exact requirements will vary depending on the specific job role.

Benefits for Japan

The inclusion of taxi drivers and railway workers in the SSW program is expected to benefit Japan in several ways:

  • Alleviating labor shortages: An aging population and low birth rates have created labor shortages in various sectors, including transportation. The SSW program can help bridge this gap by attracting skilled foreign workers.
  • Enhancing service quality: By bringing in qualified professionals, the program can contribute to improved service quality in the taxi and railway industries.
  • Boosting the economy: Increased immigration can lead to a more diverse workforce and stimulate economic growth.

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