How to apply for a Japan Highly Skilled Professional Visa

With the changes that have been taking place in Japan over the last decade, it is clear that the country is slowly becoming more of an immigration country than it was before. Japan introduced a turning point in its immigration history when in 2012, the country started a point-based system of immigration. In addition, with Japan’s Highly Skilled Professional Visa, the country has relaxed its restrictions on permanent residency.

Again, if you are a highly skilled professional who wants to move to Japan, you must obtain at least 70 points through the points-based visa application system. This would qualify you for a Japan Highly Skilled Professional Visa. There are many ways to get points through this system, and if you can prove that you are qualified, you need to send in the required documents, get a five-year visa to Japan, and subsequently, permanent residency.

Features of Japan Highly Skilled Professional Visa

The Japan Highly Skilled Professional Visa is different from the ordinary Japan visa because of the following features:

1. Points are awarded in specific categories like age, Japanese language proficiency, level of education, research achievements, work-related qualifications, etc.

  • You can apply for a Permanent Residency after three years instead of waiting for ten years
  • If you obtain 80 points based on the evaluation system, you can apply for permanent residency after one year

2. It is possible to get a visa for five years with an extension

3. Your family can join you in Japan under this visa category

4. Your spouse is permitted to work

5. Your parents can join you under this category on the condition that they will

  • Live with you
  • Take care of your children under the age of seven or your pregnant spouse (if any) to enable you to work freely

Who is eligible for Japan Highly Skilled Professional Visa?

There are three main categories of Japan Highly Skilled Professional Visa that you can qualify for:

#1 Highly Skilled Professional Visa for advanced academic research

It is for highly skilled professionals seeking employment in public or private organizations that employ educators and research workers.

#2 Highly Skilled Professional Visa for advanced technical skills in sciences

It is for highly skilled professionals in private or public organizations specializing in natural sciences or humanities.

#3 Highly Skilled Professional Visa for advanced business management skills

It is issued to professionals who manage or work in private or public organizations.

Understanding the Japan Points Evaluation System

Using a Point Calculation Form which you can download from the Japan Immigration Bureau website, you must aim to reach at least 70 points by outlining your qualifications and summing them up in the end.

There are four main categories under which your answers must fall:

#1 Your Age

No points are awarded based on age if you apply for a Japan Highly Skilled Professional Visa under the advanced business management skills category. But suppose you are applying under the Highly Skilled Professional Visa for advanced academic research and Highly Skilled Professional for advanced technical skills in sciences. In that case, you will be awarded the following points based on age:

  • For age 29 years or younger – 15 points
  • For ages 30 to 34 years – 10 points
  • For ages 35 to 39 years – 5 points

#2 Your Academic background

The higher your qualifications, the higher your points would be.

  • For holders of a Doctorate Degree – 30 points
  • For holders of a Masters’s Degree – 20 points
  • For holders of a Bachelor’s Degree – 10 points

#3 Your annual salary

You must earn at least 3 million Japanese Yen annually to qualify for the Highly Skilled Professional Visa. The higher you earn, the higher your points.

  • For an annual salary of 10 million Yen – 40 points
  • For an annual salary of 9 million Yen – 35 points
  • For an annual salary of 8 million Yen – 30 points
  • For an annual salary of 7 million Yen – 25 points
  • For an annual salary of 6 million Yen – 20 points
  • For an annual salary of 5 million Yen – 15 points
  • For an annual salary of 4 million Yen – 10 points

#4 Your work experience

You will be awarded more points on the Point Evaluation System if you have more work experience.

  • For work experience of ten and above – 20 points
  • For work experience of seven to ten years – 15 points
  • For work experience of five to seven years – 10 points
  • For work experience of three to five years – 5 points

Conditions for Japan Highly Skilled Professional Visa

Even if you qualify for any of the above categories, you must satisfy the following conditions:

1. You must attain a minimum of 70 points in the point-based system. For example, if you have a Ph.D., you will gain 30 points automatically. With a master’s degree, you will earn 20 points. If you are less than 29 years, you will gain 15 points, but if you are above 40, you get zero points for age.

2. You can only work for the company that sponsored your entry. If you want to move to another company, you must apply for a new Certificate of Eligibility. You will be assessed to confirm that you still qualify for the Highly Skilled Program. If you do not, you must change your visa category to an ordinary Japan Work Visa.

Requirements for a Japan Highly Skilled Professional Visa

What documents do you need when applying for a Japan Highly Skilled Professional Visa? Here’s a list:

1. Your valid passport and photocopies of the relevant pages

2. Your recent passport-size photo of 4cm by 3cm dimension.

3. A work contract, detailing your position in the organization, salary, and duration of the job.

4. Proof of academic qualifications (transcripts, certificates, diplomas, etc.)

5. Proof of previous work history (reference letter, work certificate, etc.)

6. Documents about your employer (profit and loss statement, company registration, etc.)

7. Additional information (Japanese Language Proficiency Test, Proof of Research Achievement, etc.)

8. Your current Residence Card (if applying for a Change of Status of Residence).

9. Proof of previous Tax Payments (if applying for a Change of Status of Residence).

Apply for a Japan Highly Skilled Professional Visa

You can apply for a Japan Highly Skilled Professional Visa from abroad or within Japan. However, you must obtain a Japan Certificate of Eligibility before applying for the visa.

How to apply for Japan Highly Skilled Professional Visa from abroad

1. Your employer (the Japanese organization) will apply for a Japan Certificate of Eligibility at the Bureau of Immigration in Japan.

2. To get the certificate, you must submit the relevant documents to your employer, your sponsor. The documents will include the Point Calculation Form, where you have indicated your points and qualifications.

3. If satisfied with your application, the Bureau of Immigration will issue your Certificate of Eligibility.

4. With your Certificate of Eligibility, apply for a Japan Visa on the grounds of Highly Skilled Professional. You will apply for a visa in your country of residence. But, first, find out if a Japanese Consulate or Embassy exists in your country of residence.

How to apply for a Highly Skilled Professional Visa while resident in Japan

To apply for a Highly Skilled Professional Visa while you are already in Japan with a standard visa like the Japan Student Visa or a Japan Work Visa, you must first apply to change your category.

1. You or your employer must apply for the Certificate of Eligibility at the local Immigration Bureau in Japan

2. Submit the Point Calculation Form as well as other required documents

3. If satisfied, the Bureau will issue your Certificate of Eligibility.

4. Apply for a Change of Status of Residence with your Certificate of Eligibility. Do this at the local Bureau of Immigration in Japan.

Read also: Japan Visa Requirements – Application, Fees, and Validity.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the processing fee for a Japan Highly Skilled Visa?

Although no specific amount has been tagged to this special visa, expect to spend about 400,000 JPY or its equivalent in the currency of your country of residence.

What is the validity of a Japan Highly Skilled Visa?

A Japanese Highly Skilled Professional Visa is valid for at least one year for the applicant and his immediate family.

For other dependents (parents), the visa can be issued for at least one year. However, it is possible to extend it after its expiration.

Can I change my ordinary Work Visa to a Highly Skilled Professional Visa?

Yes, you can change your Work Visa to a Highly Skilled Professional Visa from within the country if qualified. However, you must first apply to change your category, then get a Certificate of Eligibility outlining your qualifications, and check whether you qualify for the visa.

What is the processing time for a Japan Highly Skilled Visa Application?

Once you receive your Certificate of Eligibility (which is processed within ten days), you can apply for your Japan Highly Skilled Visa. It takes about 5 to 10 working days to process your application. Your time starts counting from the time you submit your application. If you apply for a Change of Residence status, your application will be processed within five days.

What documents must I submit to apply for a Certificate of Eligibility for a Japan Highly Skilled Professional Visa?

For a Certificate of Eligibility, you must submit the following documents:

a. Academic and Employment histories

b. Details of the sponsoring organization (your employer)

c. Statement of Points

d. Documents to support each Point in the system-based calculation, e.g., documents proving your research achievements, academic degrees, certifications, if any. Note that you must not submit all the explanatory documents. You may submit just enough to earn at least 70 points.

Conclusion

To the casual observer, Japan seems to absorb too many foreign nationals, but on closer look, you will find this is not true. Japan does not welcome foreign nationals who cannot contribute to its society and industry. The two types of foreign nationals that Japan welcomes with open arms are people with enough money to invest in Japanese companies and people with the skills and specialty to improve the nation. The former are called investors, while the latter is called highly skilled professionals.

Check Also

Life in Saguenay for Immigrants

Top 17 Fun Things to do in Saguenay – For Residents and Visitors

Saguenay is one of those places you read about on the pages of a book …