The Immigration Control Act was amended
The Act for Partial Amendment of the Immigration Control and Refugee Recognition Act (Act No. 74 of 2014), which was passed and enacted at the 2014 ordinary session of the Diet, was promulgated on June 18, 2014. Act No. 74 of 2014 reorganizes the statuses of residence such as by establishing a status of residence for foreign nationals who possess advanced and specialized skills in order to promote the acceptance of foreign nationals who will contribute to the development of the Japanese economy amid economic globalization, and takes such measures as further facilitating the procedures for landing examinations,etc.
Point1.The statuses of residence were reorganized
The statuses of residence were reorganized as given below. As a result, there are a total of 33 statuses of residence.
1.Establishment of a new status of residence“ Highly Skilled Professional” for 1 foreign human resources with advanced and specialized skills
As a measure for the promotion of the acceptance of foreign human resources with advanced and specialized skills, a new status of residence named “Highly Skilled Professional (i)” for foreign human resources with advanced and specialized skills who were previously granted the status of residence of “Designated Activities” and afforded various kinds of preferential immigration treatment, was established.
In addition, foreign nationals, who had the status of residence of “Designated Activities (Highly-Skilled Human Resources)” at the time of the enforcement of Act No.74 of 2014, will be able to continue engaging in activities within the same scope as before with the status of residence of “Designated Activities” until the time of the expiry date of the previous period of stay. Moreover, if they fulfill certain criteria, these foreign nationals will be able to apply to change directly to the status of residence of “Highly Skilled Professional (ii)” without having to acquire the status of residence of “Highly Skilled Professional (i)”.
2.The status of residence of“ Investor/Business Manager” has been changed to“ Business Manager
So as to enable foreign nationals to be widely brought in to engage in the activities of business management and operation in companies in Japan, the current name of the status of residence of “Investor/Business Manager” will be changed to the name of “Business Manager” and the requirement of being connected to foreign investment will be removed. This change,will enable foreign nationals to engage in the management and operation of Japanese-owned companies with the same status of residence.
3.Consolidation of the statuses of residence of“ Engineer” and“ Specialist in Humanities/ International Services
In order to respond flexibly to the needs of companies,etc. related to the acceptance of foreign nationals in professional and technical fields, the division between “Engineer” and “Specialist in Humanities/International Services”, which was based on a division of knowledge (sciences/humanities) necessary for the work, was removed, and consolidated into one comprehensive status of residence of “Engineer/Specialist in Humanities/International Services”.
4.The scope of the status of residence of“ Student” has been expanded to cover junior high school students and elementary school students
In order to contribute to the promotion of international exchanges from younger ages in the field of education, the status of residence of “Student” will also be granted to junior high school international students and elementary school international students.
Point 2. Establishment of new procedures to facilitate landing examinations
1.Facilitation of the immigration procedures for foreign passengers of cruise ships
A system of “landing permission for cruise ship tourists” allowing landing through simplified procedures has been established for foreign passengers of cruise ships designated by the Minister of Justice.
In addition, foreign nationals granted the status of residence of “Temporary Visitor” on entering Japan by aircraft, who board a cruise ship which takes a route departing from Japan,
visiting other countries and then returning to Japan, and who re-enter Japan on such cruise ship within a certain period
(so-called fly-and-cruise) will not be required, in principle, to obtain, re-entry permission.
2.Facilitation of the immigration procedures for trusted travelers
The scope of foreign nationals eligible to use the automated gates will be expanded to include those foreign nationals who frequently visit Japan and stay in Japan for a short period of time, if they have undergone an examination having provided their personal identification information such as fingerprints in advance and have registered to use the gates having been deemed to pose little risk of causing problems in terms of immigration control. Such foreign nationals will not be required to receive a seal of verification for landing and instead a system will be established where a special registration card will be issued to the foreign national as a means to prove landing permission in place of the seal for verification of landing.
Effective date to be specified by a Cabinet Order.