Foreign trainees who lost their jobs due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic will be able to switch jobs and stay in Japan, the Immigration Services Agency said Friday.

With the ongoing outbreak of the infectious disease expected to cause a major economic fallout around the world, the Japanese government announced support measures for foreigners under the country's technical intern program.

(Foreign technical interns attend a meeting held by a supporters' group in the Diet building on Nov. 21, 2018.)

The relief measures will be extended to foreign skilled workers who lost their jobs and international students whose employment offers were withdrawn due to the outbreak.

The program was established to promote international cooperation by imparting skills and knowledge in Japanese industries to developing countries. Trainees are only allowed to work in designated fields under the current regulations.

The government will arrange for trainees to return to their designated profession once the pneumonia-causing virus pandemic has ended.

Because of the pandemic, contracts in certain fields such as the manufacturing and tourism sectors are not being renewed, while industries such as agriculture and nursing care face labor shortages as new technical intern trainees cannot travel to Japan.

The agency, together with other public entities, will try to match out-of-work foreigners with farms and nursing care facilities in need.

Foreign workers can seek jobs in 14 fields and employers are obliged to provide payments at least on par with Japanese workers.

Once they land their new jobs, their residential status will be changed to "designated activities," allowing them to work for up to one year. They can file applications to change their status from Monday.