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Visa & Immigration Procedure in Japan

Japan's new Immigration system from April 2015

Highly Skilled Professional visa

The "Highly Skilled Professional" status already started in May 2012 but under the category of "Designated Activities" visa.

With the reform of the Immigration law, a new, independent visa category of "Highly Skilled Professional" was created for foreign workers with advanced and specialized skills.

Points are given according to the applicant's educational and professional background, income and academic achievement, and if you accumulate 70 points or more in the point evaluation, a special visa status is given which includes the following preferential treatment:

  • Possibility of engaging in multiple activities that cover different visa categories
  • 5 year visa is granted
  • Permanent resident visa after 5 years residency in Japan
  • Preferential processing of Immigration procedure
  • Your spouse can also work
  • Possibility of bringing your parents to Japan
  • Possibility of hiring a domestic servant

Highly Skilled Professional visa has the following 3 categories of activities and for each category, the criteria to get the relevant points are different:

  • (A) Advanced academic research activities (pertaining to the activities permitted under the Researcher or Professor visa)
  • (B) Advanced specialized / technical activities (pertaining to the activities permitted under the Engineer, Specialist in Humanities or Intra-company transferee visa)
  • (C) Advanced business management activities (pertaining to the activities permitted under the Business Manager visa)

To give you an idea of the points you can get:

  • 30 points for a Doctor's degree, 20 points for a Master's degree.
  • 5-25 points depending on your professional experience
  • 10-50 points depending on the amount of your income that you earn from Japanese employers
  • 5-15 points depending on your age (younger the better)
  • 10 points depending on your Japanese language ability

For more detail, please refer to the Point Calculation Table.

3 years after getting the Highly Skilled Professional visa class (i), it is then possible to apply for the Highly Skilled Professional visa class (ii) whose duration is indefinite.

Changes of the Investor / Business Manager visa

Previously, the investment of 5 million yen to satisfy the Investor / Business Manager visa's requirements had to come from a foreign source.

This meant that the investment had to be made by either the visa applicant him/herself or a foreign company / individual for whom the visa applicant would run the business on their behalf.

Under the new law, the source of investment became irrelevant, thus allowing the visa applicant to run the business on behalf of Japanese investors as well, provided that he / she has relevant experience / skills to do so.

The name of the visa was thus changed to "Business Manager" visa.

Engineer and Specialist in Humanities / International Services consolidated into one single visa category

The Engineer visa and Specialist in Humanities / International Services visa used to be two separate visa categories.

From April 2015, these two visas are consolidated into one single visa category: Engineer / Specialist in Humanities / International Services visa.

The visa requirements remain the same, which means that it is still required to have the relevant educational or professional background in the specialized field of the job that you are going to engage in Japan.

However the relevance between the major field of study or professional experience and the job description has become less strict and it's also possible to engage in tasks that are spread out in different fields of specialization.

It is not required to obtain the "Permission to engage in other activities" if you are an IT engineer who does translation work for example, as these two categories are now covered under the same visa category.

Student visa expanded to junior high school and elementary school students

This said, there is no visa category for the parents of the students, so the kids are expected to live in boarding schools or with host families in Japan.

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