Points-Based Immigration System for Highly-Skilled Foreign Professionals

Points-Based Immigration System for Highly-Skilled Foreign Professionals

Since May 2012, the Japanese Immigration Bureau has implemented a points-based system to facilitate the immigration of highly-skilled foreign professionals.

The employment activities of persons deemed to be “highly-skilled foreign professionals” are classified into three categories: “advanced academic research activities,” “advanced specialized/technical activities,” and “advanced business management activities.” Foreign nationals who are employed in Japan by Kyoto University, are eligible for the “advanced academic research activity” category. The status of residence conferred on persons in this category is “Highly Skilled Professional (i)(a).”

Foreign nationals who are granted entry to and residence in Japan as a highly-skilled professionals receive the following forms of preferential treatment:

  1. Permission to engage in multiple types of activity (e.g., with a single status of residence, they are permitted to provide services to a company while being employed as a researcher at a university).
  2. Granting of a five-year period of stay.
  3. Easing of requirements for permanent residence.
  4. Permission for their spouses to work.
  5. Permission for their parent(s) to accompany them to Japan under certain circumstances (e.g., the highly-skilled foreign professional has a child under seven years of age, and the parent(s) live together with them and care for the child).
  6. Permission for a domestic worker to accompany them to Japan under certain circumstances (e.g., the highly-skilled foreign professional has a child under thirteen years of age).
  7. Quick processing of entry and residence procedures.

Eligibility for the “Highly Skilled Professional (i)(a)” Residence Status
Applicants must satisfy the following two conditions:

  1. Applicants must be foreign nationals who are eligible to work in the fields of research, research guidance, or education at a Japanese university. They must be employed under a contract and receive a salary for the work (e.g. visiting research scholar, program-specific researcher, etc.).
  2. To calculate eligibility, points are allocated to the applicant based on the characteristics of their employment activities. The points are allocated in categories such as “academic background,” “professional career,” “annual salary,” etc. If the total number of points allocated is 70 or greater, the applicant will be deemed a highly skilled foreign professional, and will be granted preferential immigration treatment. (For details of point allocation, please refer to the Point Calculation Table.)

Application to Change Status of Residence to “Highly-Skilled Foreign Professional”

Persons currently resident in Japan who wish to change their status of residence to “Highly-Skilled Foreign Professional” must submit the following items to the Immigration Bureau.

Please Note:
All documents issued in Japan, such as enrollment certificates, tax withholding certificates, etc., must have been issued within three months prior to making the application.

Status of ResidenceItems Required for Application
Highly Skilled Professional (i)(a).Application forms for the change of status of residence: [Excel, PDF] [Sample]
Note: Please ask your office of affiliation to complete the “organization” section.
One ID photo (4 x 3 cm, taken within three months prior to the date of application)
Passport
Residence card
Processing fee of ¥4,000, to be paid by revenue stamp (shunyu inshi)
Note: Revenue stamps are available at post offices and convenience stores.
Point Calculation Form (please refer to the Point Calculation Table)
*A total of at least 70 points are required for the application.
Documentary evidence for the points (Nos. 1–14)
*It is not necessary to provide documentary evidence for all items (1–14), as long as the evidence provided verifies at least 70 points.
*If the total number of points exceeds 70, the excess points do not influence the examination.
Note:
The documentary evidence for item No. 9, “Works for an organization which receives financial support measures related to innovation (measures provided for separately in a public notice),” can be provided by Kyoto University’s International Service Office. If you require this document, please contact the International Service Office (Email: kuiso@mail2.kyoto-u.ac.jp).

Note:
Additional documents may be required by the immigration bureau.
The application forms, point calculation form, and details of the documentary evidence required are available from the Immigration Bureau website:
http://www.immi-moj.go.jp/newimmiact_3/en/index.html

If a Highly-Skilled Foreign Professional is Accompanied by their Spouse/Children

The spouse or children of a highly-skilled foreign professional must obtain the residence status of “Dependent” in order to stay in Japan beyond the period allowed by their country’s “Temporary Visitor” visa. To obtain “Dependent” visas, the highly-skilled foreign professional should first go to their local immigration bureau to apply for a “Certificate of Eligibility (Dependent)” for each of their family members. Once obtained, the certificates should be sent to the family members, who should then submit them, together with the other necessary documents, to the Japanese Embassy/Consulate in their country to apply for the “Dependent” visa.

Eligibility

The following are the main eligibility requirements:

  1. The spouse/child will live together with the highly-skilled foreign professional in Japan under his/her financial support.
  2. The applicant must be the spouse or child of the highly-skilled foreign professional.

Application Materials

Applicant: spouse or child of a highly-skilled foreign professional.

  1. Application form for the Certificate of Eligibility for Dependent Status [Excel, PDF] [Sample]
  2. ID photo (4 x 3cm, taken within three months prior to application).
  3. A copy of the applicant’s passport.
  4. Original or official copy of a certificate such as a marriage license, birth certificate, or family register that indicates the relationship between the highly-skilled foreign professional and the applicant.
  5. A copy of the front and back of the highly-skilled foreign professional’s Residence Card or Certificate of Residence
  6. Official documents that show the highly-skilled foreign professional’s income or ability to support their family during their entire stay in Japan. (If the highly-skilled foreign professional has income in Japan, a tax receipt, certificate of employment, etc. may be provided for this purpose.)
Please Note:
  • Additional documents may be required by the immigration bureau.
  • Documents such as enrollment certificates, tax withholding certificates, etc. must have been issued within three months prior to making the application. 
  • If the marriage/birth certificate is written in a language other than English or Japanese, a brief translation in English or Japanese must be provided.
  • In principle, documents and materials which have been submitted will not be returned. If you submit any original documents or materials which you require to be returned, you must notify the immigration staff when you file your application.

If a Highly-Skilled Foreign Professional is Accompanied by their Parent(s) or Parent(s)-in-Law

If the parent(s) or parent(s)-in-law of a highly-skilled foreign professional intend to live with them in Japan beyond the period allowed by their country’s “Temporary Visitor” visa (for example, in order to assist with their family), they must obtain the residence status of “Designated Activity.” To obtain a “Designated Activity” visa, the highly-skilled foreign professional should first go to their local immigration bureau to apply for a “Certificate of Eligibility (Designated Activity)” for each person. Once obtained, the certificates should be sent to the relevant family member(s), who should then submit them, together with the other necessary documents, to the Japanese Embassy/Consulate in their country to apply for the “Designated Activity” visa.

Eligibility

The following are the main eligibility requirements:

  1. The parent(s) or parent(s)-in-law must live together with the highly-skilled foreign professional in Japan.
  2. The highly-skilled foreign professional’s annual household income* must be 8 million yen or more.
    (*The total annual salary of the highly-skilled foreign professional and his/her spouse combined.)
  3. The Parent(s) or Parent(s)-in-law will do one of the following:
    • Assist in taking care of a child younger than seven years of age belonging to the highly-skilled foreign professional or his/her spouse.
    • Care for a highly-skilled foreign professional who is pregnant.
    • Care for the pregnant spouse of a highly-skilled foreign professional.

Application Materials

Applicants: parent(s) or parent(s)-in-law of a highly-skilled foreign professional.

  1. Application form for “Designated Activity” Certificate of Eligibility [Excel, PDF] [Sample].
  2. ID photo (4 x 3cm, taken within three months prior to application).
  3. A copy of the applicant’s passport.
  4. Original or official copy of a certificate such as a marriage license, birth certificate, or family register that indicates the relationship between the highly-skilled foreign professional and the applicant.
  5. Official documents showing the highly-skilled foreign professional’s annual household income. (If the household income is earned in Japan, tax receipts, certificates of employment, etc. may be provided for this purpose.)
  6. A copy of the front and back of the highly-skilled foreign professional and his/her spouse’s Residence Cards.
    1. If the parent(s) or parent(s)-in-law will assist in taking care of a child younger than seven years of age belonging to the highly-skilled foreign professional or his/her spouse: A copy of the front and back of the child’s Residence Card or passport.
    2. If the parent(s) or parent(s)-in-law will care for a highly-skilled foreign professional who is pregnant or care for the pregnant spouse of a highly-skilled foreign professional: Documents which prove that the highly-skilled foreign professional or highly-skilled foreign professional’s spouse is pregnant (e.g. medical certificate, copy of mother and child healthcare handbook).
Please Note:
  • Additional documents may be required by the immigration bureau.
  • Documents such as enrollment certificates, tax withholding certificates, etc. must have been issued within three months prior to making the application. 
  • If the marriage/birth certificate is written in a language other than English or Japanese, a brief translation in English or Japanese must be provided.
  • In principle, documents and materials which have been submitted will not be returned. If you submit any original documents or materials which you require to be returned, you must notify the immigration staff when you file your application.