New Delhi, August 04, 2022.

India and Japan held the third Joint Working Group (JWG) meeting on Specified Skill Worker (SSW) in a hybrid format on 2 August 2022 in New Delhi. The Indian delegation was led by Shri Anurag Bhushan, Joint Secretary (OIA-I), Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) and Dr. K.K. Dwivedi, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Skill Development & Entrepreneurship (MSDE), and included representatives of National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC). The Japanese delegation was led by Mr. Nakagawa Tsutomu, Assistant Vice Minister, Immigration Services Agency, and comprised representatives from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA), Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare (MHLW), Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF), and Japan Tourism Agency. Officials from respective Embassies also participated.

India and Japan had signed a Memorandum of Cooperation (MoC) on Specified Skilled Worker(SSW) in January 2021 to promote movement of skilled workers, meeting skill and Japanese language requirement, from India to Japan for employment on a contractual basis.

During the JWG meeting, both sides took stock of the existing cooperation between India and Japan under SSW and concurred that there was considerable potential to boost the number of SSW workers from India to Japan. In this context, they held discussions on ways to further enhance the implementation of SSW programme by identifying challenges in the existing system and exchanging views on the way forward. Key issues discussed during the meeting included demand-supply matching including the use of digital technology and platforms, raising the number of test centers in India, expanding the sectors of implementation, raising awareness about the SSW programme in India, Japanese language promotion in India, and setting up a framework for programme monitoring. Japanese side announced that in addition to the existing cooperation under nursing care giving, SSW will also be expanded to cover the agriculture sector in India. Indian side welcomed the announcement and called for expansion of SSW to other sectors also. 

Both sides agreed to hold the next JWG meeting at a mutually convenient time in the near future.