Melco Resorts and Entertainment Chairman and CEO Lawrence Ho says the company will look to bring in more than 10,000 foreign workers during the early years of operations should it win a license to build an integrated resort in Japan.
The opportunity to introduce foreign expertise forms part of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s immigration law reforms which allow 14 industries, including hotels and F&B, to employ foreign workers. The immigration bill is expected to be enacted next week.
Discussing how introduction of the bill will impact Melco in an interview with Nikkei Asian Review on Thursday, Ho said, “We will [initially] need to bring in foreign expertise, just like how we did in Macau and Manila.
“We expect employees of between 10,000 and 20,000 will be needed, so we need help on [the] immigration side.
“The bulk of employees will [eventually] be Japanese but at the same time it is unrealistic to say so from the beginning, as the industry does not still exist in Japan.”
The Prime Minister’s immigration bill is in response to ongoing labor shortages in Japan due to the country’s ageing population, with the government hoping to bring in around 345,000 foreign workers over the next five years.
Meanwhile, Ho has told Bloomberg in a separate interview that he expects the bidding process for a Japanese IR license to begin in earnest by late 2019.
“2019 is going to turn out to be a very important year,” Ho said. “The national government plans on establishing the gaming control board in July and after that all of the cities and prefectures will try to line up with operators and consortiums.
“In that sense, 2019 is going to be a year when operators like us will be trying to join consortiums and I think by the end of 2019 there is a possibility that the bidding will have started.”