JAPAN – Residence Statuses Reorganised
On 1 April 2015 Japan’s
Immigration Bureau introduced some amendments to the Immigration Control
Act, partially reorganising the residence categories available to
foreign nationals, with some benefits to highly skilled foreign workers,
managers and entrepreneurs.
- As of 1 April 2015, foreign nationals engaged in the management of
companies are eligible to apply for the “Business Manager” residence
status, previously known as “Investor/Business Manager”, regardless of
any investment in a company registered in Japan.
- This residence status was previously only available to foreign
nationals occupied in the management of at least partially foreign-owned
companies, but has now been opened to managers of Japanese-owned
companies as well.
- Also as of 1 April 2015, foreign nationals planning to establish a
business in Japan can apply for Business Manager residence status before
their company has been registered in Japan.In this case, they must
apply for and submit the company's Articles of Incorporation (and other
relevant documents) instead of the Certificate of Company Registration.
If successful they will receive temporary residence status for four
months, which can be extended once they have completed the company
registration in Japan.
Highly Skilled Professional
- As of 1 April 2015 a new residence category of “Highly Skilled
Professional” has been introduced for foreign nationals with advanced
and specialised skills who would previously have been given “Designated
Activities” status. Qualifying activities include academic research,
advanced technical activities and business management.As previously,
highly skilled professionals who score more than 70 points for their
skills, experience and salary get preferential immigration treatment,
such as a longer, extendable duration of stay, work permission for a
spouse, a fast track to permanent residence and the right to sponsor
parents and domestic workers as dependents.
- Foreign nationals with the status of residence of Highly Skilled
Professional (i), or those holding the status of "Designated
Activities", who have been engaging in the activities coming under this
status of residence for three years or more, are eligible for the status
of residence of Highly Skilled Professional (ii). This allows an
indefinite period of stay and permission to engage in certain other
professional activities alongside those that come under the Highly
Skilled Professional (i) status.
- The previous division between “Engineer” and “Specialist in
Humanities/International Services has been removed and the two
categories have been consolidated into one status of residence called
“Engineer/Specialist in Humanities/International Services”.
- The “Student” status of residence has been extended to international students at Japanese elementary and junior high schools.
- Note that managers employed by wholly Japanese-owned businesses now
also qualify for the “Business Manager” status of residence, and that
founders of as-yet unregistered new businesses may qualify for a
four-month stay under this status while arranging the registration of
- Note that highly skilled foreign professionals with the previous
“Designated Activities” status may qualify for “Highly Skilled
Professional (ii)” status if they meet certain criteria, without first
converting to “Highly Skilled Professional (i)”.