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Highly Skilled Professionals

Outline

This policy was introduced on May 7, 2012 in order to promote more acceptances of highly skilled foreign professionals who have advanced abilities since those foreign professionals are expected to contribute to economic growth and creation of new demand and employment in Japan.
(Revision of Ordinances and Guidelines: Click here
)

Applicants

Foreigners who hold any type of status of residence with working permission (excluding "Technical Intern Training" status) or foreigners who are currently staying in a foreign country and are able to enter Japan with any type of status of residence of workers.

Main Preferential Treatment
- Highly Skilled Professional (i) -

If you are granted this status of residence, you are able to enjoy the following preferential treatment;

  • 1
    Permission for multiple purposes of activities during your stay in Japan (※1),
  • 2
    Grant a period of stay of 5 years,
  • 4
    Permission for your spouse to work (※3),
  • 5
    Permission for bringing your parent under certain conditions (※4), and
  • 6
    Permission for a domestic servant employed by a highly skilled person under certain conditions (※5).

(※1)

The highly skilled person will not be required to confine themselves to the existing scope of a residence status that enables them to work. They may engage in activities that fall into the scope of multiple residence statuses, as well as in business management, while effectively using advanced abilities and skills.

(Example of ※1)

Academic research activities: The activities in which a highly skilled person engages in research under a contract with a Japanese public or private organization, or the activities in which the highly skilled person engages, in addition to the research, in management of business related to the research.

(※2)

In principle, if a foreign national who has the residence status enabling him/her to work intends to obtain the permanent residence, he/she must have been staying in Japan for consecutive 10 years or longer.
If a foreign national has been engaging in the activities as a highly skilled person with over 70 points for 3 years or over 80 points for one year, his/her application for permanent residence will be accepted. 

If a foreign national does not currently hold the "highly skilled professionals" but satisfy the following condition, he/she is still eligible to apply for the permanent resident earlier.

  • foreign national has/had a total score of 70 points (*1) or more according to the point calculation table and has been staying in Japan for over 3 years, or

  • foreign national has/had a total score of 80 points (*2) or more according to the point calculation table and has been staying in Japan for over one year.

(*1) Score of 70 points or more at 3 years before the date of the application and on the date of filing application for the permanent residence needs to be obtained. 
(*2) Score of 80 points or more at 1 year before the date of the application and on the date of filing application for the permanent residence needs to be obtained. 

(Revision of Ordinances and Guidelines: Click here)

(Note 1)
If a foreign national has been residing in Japan with any of the working visa prior to obtaining the "highly skilled professional" status, and his/her total period of stay in Japan is over 10 years in the aggregate, he/she is able to apply for permanent residence without waiting for above period.

(Note 2)
Foreign nationals who have obtained the "Permanent Residence" are no longer eligible to receive preferential treatments of the "highly skilled professional". 

(※3)

A spouse of a highly skilled person is able to engage in activity falls into the scope of a status of residence with a working permission such as "Researcher", "Instructor", "Engineer", "Specialist in Humanities/International Services" and "Entertainer" without time constraints, even if the requirements (e.g. academic background, etc.) are not satisfied. 

(※4) CONDITIONS

  • Child of a highly skilled person is younger than 7 years old, or a highly skilled person or his/her spouse is pregnant
     

  • Annual household salary (total annual salary of a highly skilled person and his/her spouse) is 8 million yen or higher.
     

  • Parent lives together with a highly skilled person in Japan.
     

  • Parent must be either a parent of the highly skilled person or a parent of the spouse; not parents of the both.
     

  • The renewable status of residence of "Designated Activities" with period of stay of one year will be given.

​(※5) CONDITIONS

  • Annual household salary (total annual salary of a highly skilled person and his/her spouse) is 10 million yen or higher.
     

  • A highly skilled person can bring ONLY ONE domestic servant.
     

  • Expected compensation to the domestic servant is 200,000 yen or higher a month.
     

  • If a domestic servant is continuously employed by a highly skilled person, the domestic servant must have been employed for at least 1 year before entering Japan. <1>
     

  • If a highly skilled person employs a domestic servant in Japan or brings a present domestic servant other than <1>, there must be family reasons as follows;​
     

    • ​A child is younger than 13 years old at the time of application, or
       

    • A spouse of a highly skilled person is unable to engage in daily housework due to illness or for other reasons.

  • Foreigners who are currently residing in Japan with the status of residence such as "Student" or "Spouse or Child of Japanese National", can directly apply for the "Change of Status of Residence" in order to obtain this working visa.
     
  • An Applicant is able to receive his or her examination result within 5 days of receipt for "Extension of Period of Stay" or "Change of Status of Residence" and within 10 days of receipt for "Issuance of Certificate of Eligibility".
     
  • If foreigners' expected period of stay (working period in Japan) is less than one year, they are not subjected to this status of residence. 
     
  • When highly skilled professionals change their occupation, they must change their status of residence with new point calculation. The notification to immigration services bureau is also required.  

Main Preferential Treatment
- Highly Skilled Professional (ii) -

If you are granted this status of residence  (※1), you are able to enjoy the following preferential treatment;

  • 1
    Permission for almost all of activities based on employment during your stay in Japan (※2),
  • 2
    Grant an indefinite period of stay,
  • 4
    Permission for your spouse to work (※3),
  • 5
    Permission for bringing your parent under certain conditions(※3), and
  • 6
    Permission for a domestic servant employed by a highly skilled person under certain conditions (※3).

(※1)

The "Highly Skilled Professional (ii) is for foreigners who have engaged in activities of the "Highly Skilled Professional (i) for more than three years.

(※2)

The foreigners, who are engaging in any one of the activities or multiple activities coming under any of the statuses of residence of "Highly Skilled Professional (i)(a), (b) or (c) (see below for details), may also engage in the activities allowed pursuant to the following statuses of residence.

  • "Professor", "Artist", "Religious Activities", "Journalist", "Legal/Accounting Services", "Medical Services", "Instructor", "Engineer/Specialist in Humanities/International Services", "Entertainer" and "Skilled Labor" 

(※3)

The foreigners who hold the "Highly Skilled Professional (ii)" are eligible for the preferential treatments given in the "Highly Skilled Professional (i)".

Requirements for Change of Status of Residence <(i) → (ii)>

  1. The activities in which the foreign national wishes to engage must come under at least of the activities out of the three activity categories (a), (b), or (c) (see below for details)
  2. The foreign national must have the status of residence of "Highly Skilled Professional (i)" and have been engaging in the activities coming under this status of residence in Japan for three years or more. 
  3. The total number of points for academic background and annual income, etc. must come to 70 points or more.
  4. The foreign national’s behavior and conduct must have been good. 
  5. The foreign national’s residence in Japan is deemed to conform to the interests of Japan
  6. The activities in which the foreign national intends to engage in Japan have not been deemed to be inappropriate in view of the impact of the activities on Japanese industries and people’s lives.

Comparison of Preferential Treatment

  Highly Skilled
Professional (i)
Highly Skilled
Professional (ii)
Period of Stay 5 years Indefinite Period
Scope of Activities

Multiple Scopes of Activities

(Refer to "Scope of Activities")

Almost All Scopes of Activities

(Refer to "Scope of Activities")

Preferential Processing at Immigration Services Bureau Yes No
Easing of Requirements for PR Yes Yes
Permission for Spouse to Work Yes Yes
Permission for Parent(s) to stay in Japan Yes Yes
Permission to bring/hire housekeeper Yes Yes
  • When a foreign national changes his/her status of residence to the “Permanent Resident” from the “Highly Skilled Foreign Professionals”, the preferential treatment such as bringing parent(s) and hiring a domestic servant will not be applied.
  • If a foreign national who has changed his/her status of residence to the “Permanent Resident” from the “Highly Skilled Foreign Professionals (i)” wishes to return to the Highly Skilled Foreign Professionals” status again due to enjoying the preferential treatment, he/she may be eligible to apply for the Highly Skilled Foreign Professionals (ii)” status if he/she previously held the “Highly Skilled Foreign Professionals (i)” status for more than 3 years.
  • If a foreign national wants to enjoy the preferential treatment without applying for the extension of period of stay, the Highly Skilled Foreign Professionals (ii)” status may be suitable.
  • When a foreign national who holds the “Highly Skilled Foreign Professionals (i)” status changes his/her employer, he/she needs to apply for the change of status of residence. However, if foreign national holds the “Highly Skilled Foreign Professionals (ii)” status, he/she does not have to take the immigration procedure. He/she only needs to make a notification to immigration services bureau with regard to change of employer. 

Point Calculation

The activities of the highly skilled foreign professionals will be classified into 3 categories:

  • Advanced Academic Research Activities
    - Highly Skilled Professional (i)(a) -

     

  • Advanced Specialized/Technical Activities
    - Highly Skilled Professional (i)(b) -

     

  • Advanced Business Management Activities
    - Highly Skilled Professional (i)(c) -

According to characteristic features of each category of the activities, points are set to each items such as "Academic Background""Working Record","Expected Annual Salary" and "Research Performance"

If the total points reach a certain number (70 points), the personnel will be recognized as the highly skilled foreign professionals.

Examples of 3 categories
  1. Advanced Academic Research Activities: Foreigners who hold the status of residence of "Professor" or "Researcher". 
     

  2. Advanced Specialized/Technical Activities: Foreigners who hold the status of residence of "Legal/Accounting Services", "Medical Services", "Engineer", "Specialist in Humanities/International Services" or "Intra-company Transferee".
     

  3. Advanced Business Management Activities: Foreigners who hold the status of residence of "Business Manager", "Legal/Accounting Services", "Engineer" or "Specialist in Humanities/International Services".

Point Calculation (More)

Statistics

Total Numbers of Highly Skilled Foreigners
  2015/12 2016/12 2017/12 2018/12
Highly Skilled Professional (i)(a) 297 731 1,194 1,576
Highly Skilled Professional (i)(b) 1,144 2,813 6,046 8,774
Highly Skilled Professional (i)(c) 51 132 257 395
Highly Skilled Professional (ii) 16 63 171 316