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;
- Advanced academic research
- Advanced specialized/technical activities, and
- 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.