Nepalese form the largest South Asian and the sixth largest foreign populace living in Japan. The Nepalese community in Japan has been steadily increasing every year over the last decade.
Over one-third of the Nepalese in Japan are students. Most of the students also work while pursuing their studies in order to payback the loans and other costs that they have incurred in coming to Japan. Though students are officially allowed to work up to 28 hours a week, it is not adequate to meet all their expenses. This forces them to additionally look for other unofficial sources of work, often with a low pay.
A large number of semi-skilled and low-skilled Nepalese workers also migrate to Japan for their livelihood. Japan’s per capita gross national income exceeds that of Nepal by over 50 times and enables migrant workers to earn far higher wages than in their homeland.
Japan’s shrinking workforce has necessitated the need to attract talent from foreign countries in the manufacturing and construction industries. Even in the food and beverages sector, specifically in restaurants, there is a huge demand for cooks and chefs from South Asian countries. Currently there are over 3,000 Indian and Nepali restaurants across Japan that are owned by Nepalese, each employing around four Nepali workers on an average.
There have been recent reports of many Nepalese and people from other countries applying for immigration status as refugees. According to the Japanese Justice Ministry, Indonesia tops the list with over 1800 applicants while Nepal is in second position with around 1450 people applying last year. However, as the political situation in Nepal is relatively stable at present, the number of applicants for refugee status is expected to reduce in the coming years.