Japan is expected to accept more than 50,000 Filipino workers by 2025 in an expanded range of occupations, once its parliament has passed laws providing temporary residency for foreign nationals.

The guidelines under consideration will create a new employment status to allow foreign workers to stay in Japan for five years, effective from 2019, Rappler reported. According to Koji Haneda, the Japanese ambassador to the Philippines, foreign workers are in big demand to fill shortages caused by his country’s aging labor force.

“Filipino workers are expected to help Japan address the issues arising from our aging society. Japan can provide qualified Filipino workers with job opportunities,” Haneda said.

“While we are waiting for the rules and regulations of this new scheme to be released, I personally estimate more than 50,000 workers from the Philippines will come to work in Japan with this new work permit by 2025.”

The Japanese government earlier announced that it was hiring workers for the nursing, farming, construction, hospitality and shipbuilding industries. With the new policy, Japan will effectively lift  a ban on the recruitment of overseas workers for manual labor.

At present Japan only hires Filipinos as nurses and care workers, in accordance with a special agreement under the Japan-Philippines Economic Partnership Agreement that was implemented in 2008.

There are now about 153,000 Filipinos working in Japan, or 12% of its 1.28 million foreign workers, according to statistics from the Ministry of Health, Labor, and Welfare.

The Japanese government said in May it would recruit more than 500,000 foreign workers between 2019 and 2025.