Although Japan may be viewed as a country tough on immigration policies, whispers of change are in the air. Considering it’s introduction of the highly skilled work visa several years ago, and further relaxing requirements for permanent residency via introducing a fast-track policy, this should culminate in a growing immigrant workforce.
Japan’s outlook for its labour market remains bleak, as the workforce shrinks, the aging population grows and the birthrate continues to drop. Something needs to change to help reverse these gloom-ridden trends. Even, the Japanese Government has tried a number of approaches and tactics to jump-start the not so fertile statistic, but with little to no success.
So, it was inevitable that immigration would take the limelight in some way to help boost the working population.
The government first introduced the highly skilled work visa in 2012, in conjunction with a points-based system helping to fast-track a path to permanent residency within 5 years. The points you can accumulate are based on your individual employment history, age, income, Japanese proficiency and academic achievements. If someone qualified for 70 points or more, they would be eligible to apply for PR after only 5 years compared the usual 10.
The Government’s recent deregulation of the rules last year relax the requirements even further allowing those who qualify between 70-79 points to apply after 3 years, and anyone over 80 points to apply after 1 year.
According to the Justice Ministry, they had recognized 8,515 people as highly-skilled professionals with 70 or more points as at June 2017.
The Highly Skilled Professional Visa
The Immigration Bureau of Japan specifies there are three specific types of Highly Skilled Professional Visas available, namely:
1. Advanced academic research activities – Activities of engaging in research, research guidance or education based on a contract entered into with a public or private organization in Japan.
2. Advanced specialized/technical activities – Activities of engaging in work requiring specialized knowledge or skills in the field of natural sciences or humanities based on a contract entered into with a public or private organization in Japan
3. Advanced business management activities – Activities of engaging in the operation or management of a public or private organization in Japan.