Japan's cabinet has approved a draft legislation to relax the country's immigration rules.
The relaxed laws would create two new visa categories to allow foreigners in certain sectors where labour shortages exist, according to the BBC.
Japan has stringent immigration laws and accepts few workers from other countries.
But new rules could permit blue-collar workers in the construction, agriculture, and health care sectors to work there.
Workers in the first visa category will be allowed to work in the country for five years, and bring their families, if they have appropriate skill and proficiency in Japanese.
Workers with a higher level of skills would qualify for the second visa category and would eventually be allowed to apply for permanent residency.
The draft legislation needs approval from parliament and is facing criticism from opposition parties, who have expressed concern about its potential impact on wages and the crime rate.
Businesses in Japan have long argued for changes to immigration rules to allow workers from other countries.
But Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has made it clear that the proposed law is not an overhaul of the Japan’s immigration policy.
Image credit: Getty Images