After months of debates to resolve the aging workforce issue, Japan finally passed a new law that will allow firms to employ more migrant workers.

On December 25, the Japanese government passed legislation that will allow companies to employ blue-collar workers from Nepal, China, Indonesia, Mongolia, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam and the Philippines, The Himalayan Times reported. The new law will come into effect in April 2019.

Under the legislation, the first five years will see about 345,000 migrant workers permitted to take jobs in 14 industrial sectors, such as manufacturing, janitorial work, fishing and nursing care.

For the first time in history, Japan will provide blue-collar foreign workers with work visas.

The new visa categories will allow workers from abroad who are 18 or above to apply for two new residency statuses. The first status – which is mostly for blue-collar and technical workers – will be valid for up to five years and will prohibit applicants from bringing family members to Japan.

The second is reserved for highly-skilled jobs and will allow applicants to do so. In addition, the migrant workers will also be able to freely change jobs and relocate to other Japanese cities with the condition of working in the same professions they were initially accepted in the country for.