Japan Announces New Visa Rules for Foreign Workers and Students

Japan has announced a new streamlined process for the issuance of highly qualified professional visas to foreign employees. The move is expected to benefit both foreign employees and students seeking to work or study in Japan.

Japan has announced a new simplified procedure for issuing highly qualified professional visas to foreign employees.

Last week, the Japanese Immigration Services Agency announced plans to give those who meet certain criteria, such as a yearly salary of 20 million yen ($151,000) and a master’s degree, preferential treatment. Foreign candidates will also be allowed to work in the country for up to 5 years, according to the government.

The new policy aims to attract highly skilled professionals to Japan, which is recognised as one of the most desirable job destinations for technologists. Both foreign employees and students seeking to work or study in Japan are expected to benefit from the change.

Three Categories of Work for Highly Skilled Professional Visa

Applicants who meet specific criteria in three categories of work may qualify for a highly skilled professional visa for a term of five years. The three categories of work include;

  1. Advanced academic research
  2. Advanced specialized/technical activities, and
  3. Advanced business and management activities

Applicants with a master’s degree or higher and an annual income of more than 20 million yen, or with a work history of 10 years or more and an annual income of more than 20 million yen, may obtain a five-year visa for advanced academic research or advanced specialized/technical activities. The points-based system will be maintained.

Eligibility for advanced business and management activities requires at least five years of work experience and an annual income of at least 40 million yen, making applicants eligible for a five-year visa.

Permanent Visa Eligibility

Applicants who meet the streamlined standards and are granted five-year visas will be eligible for a permanent visa after only one year in Japan. Current visa holders, on the other hand, must reside in Japan for three years before applying for a permanent visa.

Criticism of Points-Based System

Although the Japanese government’s points-based system for awarding highly skilled professional visas has been successful in identifying qualified candidates, it has also been criticised for being overly burdensome. The simplified procedure should make it easier for highly skilled professionals to obtain visas and work in Japan.


The move is expected to boost Japan’s economy, which is suffering from a labour shortage, as well as promote cultural exchange between Japan and other countries.

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Manish Khandelwal
Manish Khandelwal

Manish Khandelwal, a travel-tech enthusiast with over a decade of experience in the travel industry. Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Travelobiz.com, he's passionate about writing.

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