Japan

May 5, 2015

Based on amendments to the Immigration Control Act, which were passed in summer last year, various changes to residency statuses have come into effect on April 1, 2015. The key points of the amended act are as follows:

• A new status Highly Skilled Professional (i) has been implemented;

· Foreign nationals with advanced and specialized skills in the fields of advanced academic research, advanced technical activities and advanced business management and who score 70 points or more under the points-based system for their skills, experience and salary are eligible for this new residency status;

· Successful applicants for this status are eligible for a 5 years period of stay, preferential processing of entry and residency procedures, permission to perform multiple activities, work permission for a spouse, a fast track to permanent residence and, under certain conditions, the right to sponsor parents and domestic workers as dependents;

· This new status replaces the status Designated Activities (Highly-Skilled Human Resources), but anyone who currently still has this old status will be able to continue his/her activities on this status until the expiration of their approved period of stay;

· Both foreigners on the old status of Designated Activities (Highly-Skilled Human Resources) and those on the new status Highly Skilled Professional (i) will be able to apply for the indefinite status Highly Skilled Professional (ii) after three years of continuous residence on either status;

• The status of Investor/Business Manager has been replaced by the status of Business Manager:

· This new status does not require the manager of a company to invest in a company registered in Japan and, as a result, managers of Japanese-owned businesses now also qualify for this status;

· The new status can now be obtained for an initial 4 months before a new company has been fully registered, enabling an entrepreneur to arrange the company registration formalities themselves, instead of having a partner in Japan filing company registrations. A longer term residency can then be obtained once the company registration has been completed;

• A new status Engineer/Specialist in Humanities/International Services replaces previous separate statuses of Engineer and Specialist in Humanities/International Services, thus allowing for the acceptance of foreigners with a broader background;

In addition to these recent changes, in January 2015 eligibility for the status of Student had already been extended to include international students at Japanese elementary and junior high schools, to contribute to the promotion of educational exchanges from a younger age.

Please do not hesitate to reach out to your Pro-Link GLOBAL Immigration Specialist if you have any questions on how these changes may affect your company and employees.

Caveat Lector | Warning to Reader

This is provided as informational only and does not substitute for actual legal advice based on the specific circumstances of a matter. Readers are reminded that Immigration laws are fluid and can change a moment’s notice without any warning. Please reach out to your local Pro-Link GLOBAL specialist should you require any additional clarification.

Information contained in this Blog is prepared using information obtained from various media outlets, government publications and our KGNM network of immigration professionals. Written permission from the copyright owner and any other rights holders must be obtained for any reuse of any content posted or published by Pro-Link GLOBAL that extends beyond fair use or other statutory exemptions. Furthermore, responsibility for the determination of the copyright status and securing permission rests with those persons wishing to reuse the materials. Interested parties are welcome to contact the Knowledge Management Department (km@pro-linkglobal.com) with any additional requests for information or to request reproduction of this material.