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How to Obtain a Work Permit for Japan

By May 11, 2018February 25th, 2022No Comments
How to Obtain a Work Permit for Japan

Japan has earned the reputation of being a difficult country to immigrate, either temporarily or permanently. It can be difficult for foreigners to enter, find work, or break into the local business market.

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However, Japan has no legal limits on the number of people admitted for permanent residency, work permits, or to become citizens. Japan’s immigration numbers are low because fewer people are choosing to immigrate to the country. This immigration decline further impacts the worker shortage due to Japan’s aging and shrinking population. Because of these immigration issues, international businesses with offices in Japan turn to foreign workers to fill many of their open positions.

International companies looking to hire workers in Japan need to acquire work permits for all employees. In this post, we’ll detail which types of permits are best for your business and employees.

Types of Work Permits in Japan

Japan has two main categories for work permits: Highly Skilled Professional visa and Working visa. The Working visa is the most basic work permit in Japan, designed for a number of different kinds of professionals:

  • Professor
  • Artist
  • Religious activities
  • Journalist
  • Business manager
  • Legal/Accounting services
  • Medical services
  • Researcher
  • Instructor
  • Engineer/Specialist in humanities/International services
  • Intra-company transfer
  • Entertainers
  • Skilled labor

Entry permission periods range from three months to five years.

The highly skilled professional visa is a points-based system that focuses on bringing the best talent from around the world to work in Japan. There are three types of visa categories in this program:

  • Advanced academic research activities
  • Advanced specialized/technical activities
  • Advanced business management activities

This visa grants greater permissions than the work visa:

  • Five-year stay
  • Visas for dependent spouse and children
  • Work visa for spouse
  • Visa for parents to take care of their grandchildren with certain restrictions
  • Visa for household workers

After staying in Japan as a highly-skilled professional for three years, the applicant may move into a second tier of the highly skilled professional visa, which grants the visa holder an indefinite period of stay.

Procedures for a Japan Work Permit

Japan has two main categories for work permits: Highly Skilled Professional visa and Working visa. The Working visa is the most basic work permit in Japan, designed for a number of different kinds of professionals:

  • Professor
  • Artist
  • Religious activities
  • Journalist
  • Business manager
  • Legal/Accounting services
  • Medical services
  • Researcher
  • Instructor
  • Engineer/Specialist in humanities/International services
  • Intra-company transfer
  • Entertainers
  • Skilled labor

Entry permission periods range from three months to five years.

The highly skilled professional visa is a points-based system that focuses on bringing the best talent from around the world to work in Japan. There are three types of visa categories in this program:

  • Advanced academic research activities
  • Advanced specialized/technical activities
  • Advanced business management activities

This visa grants greater permissions than the work visa:

  • Five-year stay
  • Visas for dependent spouse and children
  • Work visa for spouse
  • Visa for parents to take care of their grandchildren with certain restrictions
  • Visa for household workers

After staying in Japan as a highly-skilled professional for three years, the applicant may move into a second tier of the highly skilled professional visa, which grants the visa holder an indefinite period of stay.

Getting to Japan

After receiving the visa, an applicant needs to move to Japan within three months. Upon moving, applicants must get a residence card called “Zairyu.” These cards are issued only at specific ports of entry:

  • Narita Airport near Tokyo
  • Haneda Airport in Tokyo
  • Chubu Airport serving Nagoya
  • Kansai Airport, near Osaka
  • Shin-Chitose Airport near Sapporo
  • Hiroshima Airport
  • Fukuoka Airport

The U.S. Embassy in Japan recommends that foreign nationals carry their card with them at times. The police in Japan may stop and ask visa-holders to present the card at any time, and failing to do so is a violation of the law.

This card must contain up to date information. If the applicant changes residences, they must go to the local municipal office to update the residence card within 14 days.

Expand into Japan with An Experienced Partner

Japan’s economy and employment opportunities offer many benefits for organizations looking to establish a presence there. If your business isn’t fully committed to establishing a long-term presence in the region, Velocity Global’s International PEO (Professional Employer Organization) can have you operating in Japan within a number of days—with no long-term commitment. If you find that Japan’s market is right for your global growth objectives, you can seamlessly transition to an entity when the time is right. Ready to take the first step in widening your global footprint? Let’s talk.