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JAPAN – New One-Year Permanent Residence Pathway Implemented for Highly-Qualified Foreign Residents

, 14/08/2017

Effective immediately, the Japanese immigration authorities have implemented new guidelines for permanent residency applications for foreign nationals, including shorter qualifying residence periods for certain applicants.

Who Qualifies?

A part of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s Strategy for Revitalization, applicants for permanent residence who score over 80 points on the Immigration Bureau of Japan’s (IBJ) points-based system for Highly Skilled Foreign Professionals are eligible for permanent residency after only one year of temporary residency, rather than five years as previously.

Applicants scoring over 70 points on the scale are eligible for permanent residency after just three years.

Points on the scale are awarded for academic background, professional career, annual salary, in-country investment, and research achievements. The IBJ’s description of the points-based system and a points calculation form can be found here.

This expedited, points-based route to permanent residency is only available to work visa holders, but it is not necessary for applicants to have a “highly skilled professional” work visa in order to apply under the new regulations.

Any accompanying dependent family members will still have to fulfill the required longer temporary residence period of up to ten years in order to qualify.

Action items

Foreign nationals currently working long-term in Japan who are considering obtaining Japanese permanent residency, are encouraged to contact an immigration specialist for the latest requirements.