People cross a street in Shinjuku district in Tokyo on Feb 18, 2023. (PHOTO / AFP)
TOKYO – Japan will launch a new and simplified system for granting highly skilled professional visas to foreign workers on April 21, the Immigration Services Agency said on Friday.
Aimed at attracting more overseas talents to the country, the new system will give preferential treatment to foreign applicants who meet certain conditions, such as having a master's degree and an annual income of at least 20 million yen ($150,000).
Under the present system, points are allocated according to categories such as academic and employment backgrounds, as well as annual income
Local analysts have been criticizing Japan's current points-based system as too complex at a time as nations around the globe compete to woo skilled workers.
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Under the present system, points are allocated according to categories such as academic and employment backgrounds, as well as annual income. Applicants with points exceeding a certain level are granted a five-year highly skilled professional visa and can obtain a visa with an indefinite period of stay after three years.
The new system will enable applicants who are conducting advanced academic research, specialized or technical activities to obtain a five-year visa if they have a master's degree or higher and an annual income of at least 20 million yen ($150,000) or an employment record of 10 years or more with an annual income of at least 20 million yen ($150,000).
For those applying for advanced business and management activities, five-year visas will be granted if they have an employment record of five years or more and an annual income of at least 40 million yen ($300,000).
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Applicants who meet the simplified requirements and are granted five-year visas will qualify for a permanent visa after residing in Japan for one year, compared with three years for current holders.
The new measure was introduced after Prime Minister Fumio Kishida instructed relevant ministries to consider reforms to attract highly skilled human resources to Japan, including the establishment of a new system that "ranks among the best in the world," Kyodo News reported.