Japan to Ease Permanent Residency Rules to Attract Foreign Workers

In an aim to entice more foreign talents, Japan is considering to reduce its requirement time for global talents to apply for permanent residency.

Recent news have it that Japan may shorten its requirement time for highly skilled foreign workers to apply for a permanent residency in its recent move to entice more global talents.

Under the current evaluation system, which started last April, some foreign workers are being designated as highly skilled” workers, like technical experts, entrepreneurs and academic researchers.

One is advanced application for permanent residency.

So far, the current system permits highly skilled foreign workers to apply for permanent residency after living in Japan for five years – half that of other foreign residents.

The government is now seeking to lower said time frame “significantly” to develop one of the fastest system to issue “green cards” to high-end professionals according to a Justice Ministry.

The official claimed that it has not been decided what the new time frame would be.

Meanwhile, rumors have it that the term could be lessen into three years, or even one year for people believed to have exceptional management or technical skills, and that the new guideline will most probably be set in place by the end of March.

Japan’s Justice Ministry official claimed that the government believes that it can boost its economic growth by actively accepting more highly skilled foreign talents.

The current points-based system assesses foreign workers based on several criteria such as academic background, annual income and language skills. And, talents who receive more than 70 points can stay in Japan under a five-year “designated activities” visa.

As for highly skilled foreign talents, their stay can be extended to working visas for their spouses and the right to bring their parents and even housekeepers to Japan.

Apparently, the five-year requirement for permanent residency for skilled professionals in Japan is way longer than other developed countries. In fact, the United Kingdom now only requires at least three years of residency for certain entrepreneurs who are foreign nationals to become permanent residents while South Korea also falls to a three-year requirement for experts with a college degree in cutting-edge technology, and only one year for those foreign talents with a doctoral degree.

As of June, 2018, Japan has 2,688 foreign workers recognized as highly skilled talents, and 65 percent of which are Chinese nationals. That establishes a mere 0.12 percent of the 2.3 million foreign residents in Japan.

Enticing foreign talents is considered critical, with the country’s graying society contributing to a shrinking labor force.

It was just last month when the Lower House passed an amendment to the immigration, allowing foreign caregivers to enter Japan under a new visa status in an aim to boost workers in the disreputably low-paid profession.


Aizelle Joe