Objectives and Outline of the System
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 highly skilled foreign professionals are classified into three categories: “advanced academic research activities,” “advanced specialized/technical activities” and “advanced business management activities”. According to the characteristic features of each category, points are set to each item, such as “academic background,” “professional career,” “annual salary,” “research performance” and the like. If the total points reach 70, the foreign nationals will be recognized as “highly skilled foreign professionals”.
The three categories of activities conducted by highly-skilled foreign professionals
●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.
●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.
●Advanced business management activities
Activities of engaging in the operation or management of a business organization in Japan.
Details of the Preferential Treatment
The following preferential immigration treatment is to be granted to foreign nationals recognized as “Highly Skilled Professional ( i ) ” as a result of the points evaluation.
(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-Year” Period of Stay
The legally permitted maximum period of stay (5 years) is granted uniformly to highly-skilled foreign professionals.
(3) Relaxation of Requirements for Grant of the Permission for Permanent Residence Concerning the Period of Stay in Japan
In principle, a foreign national needs to stay in Japan for more than 10 consecutive years in order to obtain permission for permanent residence. However, foreign nationals who have engaged in activities as highly-skilled foreign professionals for approximately 5 years are eligible to obtain 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,” or “Engineer/Specialist in Humanities/International Services,”he/she must satisfy certain requirements with regard to academic background, work experience, and the like, as well as obtain the relevant status of residence.
However, 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 the current system, parents of foreign nationals staying in Japan under a status of residence for work are not allowed to enter and stay in Japan. However, the parent(s) 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(s) 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(s) will take care of a pregnant highly-skilled foreign professional or a pregnant spouse of a highly-skilled foreign professional
(6) Permission for Domestic Workers to Accompany the Highly Skilled Foreign Professional to Japan
Only those foreign nationals who stay in Japan under statuses of residence such as “Business Manager” etc. may employ foreign domestic workers. However, a highly skilled foreign professional may bring foreign domestic workers to Japan subject to certain conditions.
(7) Preferential Processing of Entry and Residence Procedures
The entry and residence examinations for highly-skilled foreign professionals will be swiftly processed through preferential treatment.