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Highly Skilled Professional Visa

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With Japan facing a demographic crisis in the shape of a steadily falling working population, the Highly Skilled Professional Visa forms part of efforts to increase global competitiveness in fields such as research and international business.

Highly Skilled Professionals may be those who carry the following type of work at through a contract with a public or private organization in Japan:

① Advanced Academic Research Activities

② Advanced Specialized/Technical Activities (requiring specialized knowledge or skills in the field of natural sciences or humanities)

③ Advanced Business Management Activities

Please note: Highly Skilled Professional Visas are fundamentally tied to the organization at which you are employed, meaning that a change in employment must be notified to and approved by the Immigration Bureau through several different procedures. Please contact us if you are considering or have already undergone a change in work on a Highly Skilled Professional Visa.

Benefits

As part of trying to attract foreign talent to Japan, the Japanese government has made the following benefits are available to those who qualify as Highly Skilled Professionals:

① Permission to engage in multiple types of work activities*

② Visa period of 5 years

③ Easing of requirements for Permanent Residence

④ Permission for spouse to work

⑤ Permission for parent(s) to accompany the professional to Japan (in certain conditions)

⑥ Permission to employ a domestic worker (in certain conditions)

⑦ Preferential processing of entry and residence procedures

*Please contact us for up to date information.

For those who work as Highly Skilled Professionals for 3 years, it is possible to apply for a change in status to Highly Skilled Professional(ii)*. This comes with the additional benefit of indefinite permission to remain in Japan.

*Since a revision to Japan’s Immigration Law in 2015, the Highly Skilled Professional Visa has been separated into two categories: Highly Skilled Professional(i) and Highly Skilled Professional(ii). The “Highly Skilled Professional Visa” discussed on this page generally refers to category (i) unless otherwise stated.

Points System

In order to qualify for a Highly Skilled Professional Visa, you must gain over 70 points in the category appropriate to your area of specialism.

Before looking at the points system, however, please be aware that the following minimum requirements also apply for Highly Skilled Professional Visas.

Points Tables

The following tables can be used to work out your score for a Highly Skilled Professional Visa depending on the type of activities you are seeking to engage in.

If you are not sure of how many points you have, get in touch with us for a free consultation session over the phone or in person.

Advanced Academic Research Activities

Academic Background

※Most recent only

Doctorate (excl. professional degrees)

30

Master’s (incl. professional degrees)

20

Bachelor’s or equivalent

10

2 or more Doctorates, Master’s or professional degrees in different specialisms

5

Professional Career (research experience*)

7yrs+

15

5yrs+

10

3yrs+

5

Annual Income

See Annual Income Points (below)

※Income includes any bonuses received, and in the case of a transfer from an overseas organization is calculated to include any payments from the overseas organization in question.

40-10

Age

Under 30

15

30-34

10

35-39

5

Bonus Point 1 (research achievements)

See Research Achievements (below)

25

Bonus Point 2

Work for an organization which receives financial support measures related to innovation OR for work in an SME

10

Bonus Point 3

Work for an SME whose experimental and research expenses equal more than 3% of total revenue

5

Bonus Point 4

Holder of a foreign work-related qualification (contact us for most recent info)

5

Bonus Point 5

Degree obtained from a higher education institute in Japan

10

Bonus Point 6

 

Japanese language qualification equivalent or higher than JLPT N1

15

Japanese language qualification equivalent or higher than JLPT N2

※Excludes those holding a Japanese undergraduate or postgraduate degree.

10

Bonus Point 7

 

Work on a Leading Edge Project in a growth area funded by the Japanese Cabinet Office

10

Bonus Point 8

※Points can be received for both Bonus Point 5 and 8 for those to whom both apply.

① Holder of a degree from a university ranking within the top 300 of 2 of the following:

・QS World University Rankings

・Times Higher Education (THE) World University Rankings

・Academic Ranking of World Universities

10

② Holder of a degree from a university receiving funding as a MEXT-designated Top Global University (Type A)

③ Holder of a degree from a partner school of MEXT’s ‘Innovative Asia’ research program

Bonus Point 9

※Points cannot be received for both Bonus Point 5 and 8 when the two overlap.

Completion of one year or more of ‘Innovative Asia’ research arranged by JICA at a MEXT-designated Top Global University (Type A)

5

*Limited to experience related to the research, guidance or education in which the applicant intends to engage.

Advanced Specialized/Technical Activities

Academic Background

Doctorate (excl. professional degrees)

30

Professional qualification related to company management (MBA, MOT)

25

Master’s (incl. professional degrees*)

20

Bachelor’s or equivalent

10

2 or more Doctorates, Master’s or professional degrees in different specialisms

5

Professional Career (business experience*)

10yrs+

20

7yrs+

15

5yrs+

10

3yrs+

5

Annual Income

See Annual Income Points (below)

※Income includes any bonuses received, and in the case of a transfer from an overseas organization is calculated to include any payments from the overseas organization in question.

40-10

Age

Under 30

15

30-34

10

35-39

5

Bonus Point 1 (research achievements)

See Research Achievement Points (below)

15

Bonus Point 2

・Holder of a Japanese national qualification relating to the work to be carried out in Japan

・Holder of qualification(s) or experience accepted under the Immigration Bureau’s IT Notice

5

(for one)

10

(for more than one)

Bonus Point 3

Work for an organization which receives financial support measures related to innovation OR for work in an SME

10

Bonus Point 4

Work for an SME whose experimental and research expenses equal more than 3% of total revenue

5

Bonus Point 5

Holder of a foreign work-related qualification (contact us for most recent info)

5

Bonus Point 6

Degree obtained from a higher education institute in Japan

10

Bonus Point 7

Japanese language qualification equivalent or higher than JLPT N1 (including graduates of Japanese language at a foreign university)

15

Japanese language qualification equivalent or higher than JLPT N2

※Excludes those holding a Japanese undergraduate or postgraduate degree.

10

Bonus Point 8

Work on a Leading Edge Project in a growth area funded by the Japanese Cabinet Office

10

Bonus Point 9

※Points can be received for both Bonus Point 5 and 9 for those to whom both apply.

① Holder of a degree from a university ranking within the top 300 of 2 of the following:

・QS World University Rankings

・Times Higher Education (THE) World University Rankings

・Academic Ranking of World Universities

10

② Holder of a degree from a university receiving funding as a MEXT-designated Top Global University (Type A)

③ Holder of a degree from a partner school of MEXT’s ‘Innovative Asia’ research program

Bonus Point 10

※Points cannot be received for both Bonus Point 5 and 8 when the two overlap.

Completion of one year or more of ‘Innovative Asia’ research arranged by JICA at a MEXT-designated Top Global University (Type A: Top Type)

5

*Limited to experience related to the business in which the applicant intends to engage.

Advanced Business Management Activities

Academic Background

Professional qualification related to company management (MBA, MOT)

25

Doctorate or Master’s (incl. professional degrees)

20

Bachelor’s or equivalent

10

2 or more Doctorates, Master’s or professional degrees in different specialisms

5

Professional Career (business experience*)

10yrs+

25

7yrs+

20

5yrs+

15

3yrs+

10

Annual Income

※Income must exceed ¥3m.

※Income includes any bonuses received, and in the case of a transfer from an overseas organization is calculated to include any payments from the overseas organization in question.

¥30m

50

¥25m

40

¥20m

30

¥15m

20

¥10m

10

Bonus Point 1 (position)

Person to be accepted as representative director or representative executive officer

10

Person to be accepted as director or executive officer

5

Bonus Point 2

Work for an organization which receives financial support measures related to innovation OR for work in an SME

10

Bonus Point 3

Work for an SME whose experimental and research expenses equal more than 3% of total revenue

5

Bonus Point 4

Holder of a foreign work-related qualification (contact us for most recent info)

5

Bonus Point 5

Degree obtained from a higher education institute in Japan

10

Bonus Point 6

Japanese language qualification equivalent or higher than JLPT N1 (including graduates of Japanese language at a foreign university)

15

Japanese language qualification equivalent or higher than JLPT N2

※Excludes those holding a Japanese undergraduate or postgraduate degree.

10

Work on a Leading Edge Project in a growth area funded by the Japanese Cabinet Office

10

Bonus Point 7

※Points can be received for both Bonus Point 5 and 7 for those to whom both apply.

① Holder of a degree from a university ranking within the top 300 of 2 of the following:

・QS World University Rankings

・Times Higher Education (THE) World University Rankings

・Academic Ranking of World Universities

10

② Holder of a degree from a university receiving funding as a MEXT-designated Top Global University (Type A)

③ Holder of a degree from a partner school of MEXT’s ‘Innovative Asia’ research program

Bonus Point 8

※Points cannot be received for both Bonus Point 5 and 8 when the two overlap.

Completion of one year or more of ‘Innovative Asia’ research arranged by JICA at a MEXT-designated Top Global University (Type A)

5

Bonus Point 9

Investment of over ¥100m in public or private trade or other business to be carried out in Japan

5

*Limited to experience related to the business management in which the applicant intends to engage.

Annual Income Points

Points relating to income for Advanced Academic Research Activities and Advanced Specialized/Technical Activities are allocated as follows according to income and age.

  Under 30

30-34

35-39

40+

¥10m+

40

40

40

40

¥9m+

35

35

35

35

¥8m+

30

30

30

30

¥7m+

25

25

25

-

¥6m+

20

20

20

-

¥5m+

15

15

-

-

¥4m+

10

-

-

-

Research Achievement Points

For those applying to undertake Advanced Academic Research Activities or Advanced Specialized/Technical Activities, bonus points can be earned for the following research achievements.

Research Achievements

Advanced Academic Research Activities

Advanced Specialized/Technical Activities

Patent invention (1+ items)

20

15

Record of engaging in research using a grant funded by a public agency prior to entry to Japan (3+ items)

20

15

Past record of publication of research papers (excl. those for which the applicant is not the main/joint author) which have appeared in an academic research paper database used by Japanese national organizations (3+ items)

20

15

Any other research achievements deemed by the Minister of Justice as at least equivalent to the above

20

15

※For Advanced Academic Research Activities, 25 points will be awarded to applicants who have two or more of the above achievements.

FAQs

Do I need to know Japanese?

For jobs which mainly make us of your English language skills (alongside or excluding Japanese), this is generally not possible. For example, for a native speaker of Italian, if 70% of their work makes use of English and only 30% in Italian, this will generally not be considered appropriate. This is because working visas typically require that the applicant uses skills specific to themselves (i.e. possessed natively or gained through specialist training) in their work.

In some cases, however, it is possible for non-native speakers to get a working visa for work based on their English language ability – for example if you have been educated in an English language environment for 12 years or more.


For any further queries about any of the above, please do not hesitate to contact us!

*Please be aware that the contents of this site are naturally subject to change, meaning that we cannot guarantee their accuracy at the point of access.*
*For up-to-date information, please contact us directly.*  

Free consultation at anytime TEL 03-5325-1355 or 070-5669-2846 We offer consultation in English, Japanese, Chinese, Korean, Burmese and Indonesian

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