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Highly-Skilled Professional visa

Points-based System for Highly-Skilled Foreign Professionals

In order to promote entry of highly-skilled foreign professionals, a points-based system that provides highly-skilled foreign professionals with preferential immigration treatment was introduced on May 7, 2012. The activities of the highly-skilled foreign professionals are classified into three categories: “advanced academic research activities,” “advanced specialized/technical activities,” and “advanced business management activities.” According to characteristic features of each category of the activities, points are set to each item, such as “academic background,” “professional career,” “annual salary,” and the like. If the total points reach a certain number (70 points), preferential immigration treatment will be granted to the relevant person, with the aim of promoting the acceptance of highly-skilled foreign professionals in Japan.
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The Three Categories of Activities of Highly-Skilled Foreign Professionals

EXAMPLE 01
Advanced academic research activities
Highly-Skilled Professional(i)(a)
Activities of engaging in research, research guidance or education based on contract entered into with public or private organization in Japan.
EXAMPLE 02
Advanced specialized technical activities
Highly-Skilled Professional(i)(b)
Activities of engaging in work requiring specialized knowledge or skills in the field of natural sciences or humanities based on contract entered into with public or private organization in Japan.
EXAMPLE 03
Advanced business management activities
Highly-Skilled Professional(i)(c)
Activities of engaging in the operation or management of public or private organization in Japan.

Availability of Preferential Treatment

The following preferential immigration treatment is granted to foreign nationals recognized as highly-skilled foreign professionals.

Highly-Skilled Professional(i)

1. Permission for multiple activities during the stay in Japan

Usually, a foreign national is only allowed to engage in the activities permitted under a single status of residence. However, a highly-skilled foreign professional may engage in activities covered by multiple statuses of residence, such as simultaneously engaging in research activities at a university and in the management of a business organization related thereto.

2. Grant of the “5 years” period of stay

The longest period of stay legally permitted (5 years) is granted uniformly to highly-skilled foreign professionals.* This 5 year period may be extended.

3. Relaxation of requirements for grant of the permission for permanent residence concerning the period of stay in Japan

In principle, in order to obtain permission for permanent residence, a foreign national is required to stay continuously in Japan for 10 years or more, but in cases where a foreign national has engaged in activities as a highly-skilled foreign professional for 3 years, or cases where a highly-skilled foreign professional, who is deemed as particularly skilled (a person scoring 80 points or more), has engaged in activities as a highly-skilled foreign professional for 1 year, the foreign national will be eligible to apply for permission for permanent residence.

4. Permission for the spouse of the highly-skilled foreign professional to work

When a foreign national staying in Japan under the status of residence of “Spouse” intends to engage in activities covered by statuses of residence for work, such as “Instructor,” “Engineer,” or “Specialist in Humanities/International Services,” he/she must satisfy certain requirements with regard to academic background, work experience, and the like, and obtain the relevant status of residence. A spouse of a highly-skilled foreign professional may engage in these activities even if he/she does not have the required academic background or work experience, etc.

5. Permission for bringing the parent(s) to accompany the highly-skilled foreign professional to Japan under certain conditions

Under the current system, parents of foreign nationals staying in Japan under a status of residence for work are not allowed to enter in Japan. However, the parent(s) (including a non-biological parent) of a highly-skilled foreign professional or his/her spouse is allowed to enter and stay in Japan subject to conditions detailed below:

(i) where the parent will take care of a child younger than 7 years of age of the highly-skilled foreign professional or his/her spouse; or (ii) where the parent will take care of a pregnant highly-skilled foreign professional or to a pregnant spouse of a highly-skilled foreign professional

Major requirements

(i) The highly-skilled foreign professional’s household annual salary* is 8 million yen or more.

* Total annual salary of the highly-skilled foreign professional and his/her spouse

(ii) The parent(s) lives with the highly-skilled foreign professional.

(iii) Limited to the parent(s) of either the highly-skilled foreign professional or his/her spouse

6. Permission for a domestic worker to accompany the highly-skilled foreign professional to Japan under certain conditions

Only foreign nationals who stay in Japan under statuses of residence such as “Investor/Business Manager,” “Legal/Accounting Services,” etc., may employ foreign domestic workers. However, a highly-skilled foreign professional may bring a foreign domestic worker to Japan subject to certain conditions.

7. Preferential processing of entry and residence procedures

Applications for entry and stay of highly-skilled foreign professionals are processed more quickly than others. Applications for preliminary immigration examination (issuance of a certificate of eligibility) are scheduled to be processed within 10 days of receipt. Applications for the examination the status of residence are scheduled to be processed within 5 days of receipt.

Highly-Skilled Professional(ii)

a. In conjunction with the activities "Highly-Skilled Professional(i)" permitted to engage in almost all of the activities of statuses of residence based on employment.

b. Granted an indefinite period of stay.

c. Eligible for the preferential treatment of the abovementioned (3)to(6)

* "Highly-Skilled Professional(ii)" is for foreign nations who have engaged in activities of "Highly-Skilled Professional(i)" for three years or more.

Cost

Consulting a Gyousei-Shoshi (Immigration Lawyer) ¥4,000
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