Japan has earned the reputation of being a difficult country to which to immigrate, either temporarily or permanently. It can be difficult for foreigners to enter, to find work, or to penetrate the local market. And the following news articles from 2017 show the general feeling about how difficult it can be to get a Japan work permit:
However, the reality of the matter is that Japan has no legal limits on the number of people admitted for permanent residency, work permits, or to become citizens. The reason Japan’s immigration numbers are low is that foreigners generally do not choose to move there. Japan does, however, have a worker shortage, caused by their shrinking, aging population. Businesses that have offices in Japan will have to turn to foreign workers to fill many of their spots. To do that, you’ll need to get a Japan work permit. In this post, we’ll outline ways in which businesses can get one.
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:
- Religious activities
- Business manager
- Legal/Accounting services
- Medical services
- Engineer/Specialist in humanities/International services
- Intra-company transfer
- 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
Like most countries, the procedure to get a work permit for Japan begins with finding a sponsor in the country. Once there is a job offer, the individual or local sponsoring organization applies to the Regional Immigration Bureau in Japan for a certificate of eligibility. The documents needed to apply for the certificate include:
- A completed application form
- A 4 cm x 3 cm photograph
- A return mail envelope with a 392-yen stamp
- Supporting documents, that prove you are entering for approved purposes, for the appropriate visa
- A letter of guarantee
For a highly skilled professional visa, the applicant must submit a points calculation form in addition to the above documents. For a person to be considered a highly skilled worker, he or she needs to score above 70 points in the appropriate visa category.
While the Regional Immigration Bureau processes the application for a certificate of eligibility, the worker or sponsoring employer should prepare the documents necessary for the relevant visa application. The visa application guide also offers samples of these documents for download that have to accompany the application form:
- Letter of guarantee
- Invitation letter
- List of visa applicants
- Details of company/ organization
- Itinerary in Japan
Contact your local Japanese consulate for more information about which of these supporting documents are necessary for your visa application or work with experts that provide Global Immigration Solutions to help you navigate visa systems in Japan. The local embassy or consulate examines your application and will determine whether they will issue a visa.
Getting to Japan
After receiving the visa, the applicant needs to move to Japan within three months. Upon landing in Japan, you will need to get a residence card, called “Zairyu.” These cards are only issued 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 you 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 situation offer many opportunities for organizations looking to establish a presence there. But if your business isn’t fully committed to establishing a long-term presence, Velocity Global’s International PEO (Professional Employer Organization) can have you operating in Japan with in 48 hours—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.