Photo/IllutrationA foreign worker at a sewing factory in Niigata Prefecture. (Asahi Shimbun file photo)

Companies that accept foreign workers under a new "specific skills" visa must not only offer salaries on the same level as Japanese, but also submit reports every three months to show they are abiding by the provision.

That is one of the requirements of a new work visa system for foreign nationals that will start from April, under a draft of guidelines posted on the Justice Ministry's website on Dec. 28.

Companies found to have violated any of the provisions will be prohibited from hiring foreign workers with the new visa for five years.

The specific skills visa will cover 14 business sectors.

The ministerial order draft laid out basic conditions for the companies that will be allowed to hire the foreign workers. In addition to the salary condition, the companies will be required to transfer monthly salaries to the savings accounts of the workers.

Checks will also be made to ensure those companies have no ties to organized crime and have not used brokers who have abused foreign workers when dispatching them.

The order draft also contained a support plan that companies must implement to ensure the foreign workers can assimilate in the community. That includes support for Japanese-language training, securing housing and providing guidance on daily aspects of living in Japan.

A new agency to replace the Immigration Bureau will be tasked with checking whether the companies are implementing those plans and maintaining the conditions required of companies accepting foreign workers.

Companies will be required to submit reports every three months not only about salary payments, but also on other support measures they are required to provide.

The Justice Ministry website also has a page for submitting comments about the ministerial draft from the general public. It will accept such input until Jan. 26.

Justice Ministry officials plan to hold a hearing with Diet members in late January to deliberate the details of the new system and the ministerial order will be formally issued in March.