It is expected that Indian skilled workers who go to Japan under this agreement will acquire new skills while working in the country

India and Japan have signed a Memorandum of Cooperation (MoC) to promote the movement of skilled workers in 14 categories from India to Japan.

The MoC on a Basic Framework for Partnership for Proper Operation of the System Pertaining to "Specified Skilled Worker (SSW)” was signed by Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla and Japanese Ambassador to India Suzuki Satoshi on Monday.

According to a statement issued by the Ministry of External Affairs, it covers 14 categories of specified skills under which skilled workers from India who meet the skills requirement and Japanese language tests would be eligible for employment in Japan on a contractual basis.

The 14 specified industry fields include nursing care, building cleaning, material processing, industrial machinery manufacturing, electric and electronic information, construction, shipbuilding and ship-related industry, automobile maintenance, aviation, lodging, agriculture, fisheries, food and beverages manufacturing and food services industry. Japan would grant these workers the status of "specified skilled worker”.

It is also expected that Indian skilled workers who go to Japan under this MoC will acquire new skills while working in Japan. A Joint Working Group (JWG), comprising officials from both countries, will be constituted in the near future to work out operational details and smooth implementation of this programme, the ministry said.

The MoC signing ceremony was attended by Secretary Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship Praveen Kumar and officials of the Embassy of Japan.

In the past few years, India and Japan have strengthened their cooperation in the area of skills development.

In 2016, both countries signed the "Manufacturing Skill Transfer Promotion Programme” agreement for the training of 30,000 persons over 10 years with Japanese style manufacturing skills and practices.

This was to be achieved through the establishment of the Japan-India Institutes for Manufacturing (JIM) and Japanese Endowed Courses (JEC) in colleges across India. In line with this agreement, 13 JIMs and 5 JECs are already operational, the ministry's statement said.

A year later, the two countries signed the "Technical Intern Training Programme” agreement to enable Indian youth to avail of internships in Japan across diverse industry sectors, including manufacturing, healthcare, construction, textiles and agriculture.

The Ministry of External Affairs noted that the MoC on Specified Skilled Workers marks a further step to augment India-Japan collaboration in the area of skill development.