Business Visas for Japan by SHIMAX Legal


Highly Skilled Professional

In order to promote the entry of highly skilled foreign professionals to Japan, a points-based system that provides highly skilled foreign professionals with preferential immigration treatment was introduced on May 7, 2012.

The activities of highly skilled foreign professionals are classified into the following three categories:

  1. Advanced academic research activities: Engaging in research, research guidance or education based on a contract entered into with a public or private organization in Japan;
  2. Advanced specialized/technical activities: Engaging in work requiring specialized knowledge or skills in the field of natural sciences or humanities based on a contract entered into with a public or private organization in Japan; or
  3. Advanced business management activities: Engaging in the operation or management of a business organization in Japan.

Under this category, an applicant obtains credits (points) for their academic background, professional career, annual salary, research performance and other experiences and/or professional skills in accordance with a set criteria for each category. If the applicant obtains enough points, they may be recognized as a Highly Skilled Foreign Professional.

A foreign national recognized as a Highly Skilled Professional as a result of this points evaluation receives numerous benefits and preferential treatment, some of which includes the following:

  • 1. Granting of a “5-Year” Period of Stay
    The legally permitted maximum period of stay (5 years) is granted uniformly to highly-skilled foreign professionals.
  • 2. Relaxation of Permanent Residency Requirements
    In principle, a foreign national must have stayed in Japan for more than ten consecutive years in order to obtain permission for permanent residence. However, foreign nationals who have engaged in activities as highly-skilled foreign professional may be eligible to obtain permission for permanent residency after a much shorter period.
  • 3. Permission for Domestic Workers to Accompany the Highly Skilled Foreign Professional to Japan
    Only foreign nationals who stay in Japan under statuses of residence such as Business Manager may employ foreign domestic workers. However, a highly skilled foreign professional may bring foreign domestic workers to Japan subject to certain conditions.
  • 4. Preferential Processing of Entry and Residence Procedures
    The entry and residence examinations for highly-skilled foreign professionals are given preferential treatment and are typically processed more quickly.