April 2012
Ministry of Justice, Immigration Bureau

Points-based preferential immigration treatment for highly skilled foreign professionals

1. Overview of the policy

The points-based system that provides highly skilled foreign professionals with preferential immigration treatment is going to start.

This policy is going to be introduced in order to promote more acceptances of highly skilled foreign nationals who have advanced abilities since those foreign professionals are expected to contribute to economic growth and creation of new demand and employment in Japan.

Under the points-based system, foreign professionals who earn 70 points or more will be recognized as “highly skilled foreign professionals” and will be given preferential immigration treatment.

We will start receiving the applications from May 7, 2012.

For more details, please click here.

2. Point evaluation

As requested by the applicants, the activities of the highly skilled foreign nationals will be classified into 3 categories: (1) Academic research activities, (2) Advanced specialized/technical activities, and (3) Business management activities. According to characteristic features of each category of the activities, evaluation will be made by setting points to such items as “educational attainment”, “period of professional experience”, “promised annual salary” and “research performance”.

Also, please note that the system operates within the current scope of accepting foreign nationals, so the applicants have to meet all requirements regarding working status of residence, prior to be scored in this system.

For more details of the point evaluation, please click here.

Point Calculation tables for certificate of eligibility (form for reference)

Point Calculation tables for extension or change of status (form for reference)

3. Preferential treatment

The personnel who have earned 70 points or more in the point evaluation will be recognized as the highly skilled foreign professional. The following preferential immigration treatment will be given to those highly skilled foreign nationals.

(1) Permission for multiple purposes of activities during the stay in Japan

(2) Grant of the "5 years" period of stay (Note)

(3) Relaxation of requirements for grant of the permission for permanent residence in line with the history of staying in Japan (In general, the permission for permanent residence will be granted for about 5 years of stay.)

(4) Preferential processing of immigration and stay procedures

(5) Permission for a spouse of a highly skilled foreign professional to work

(6) Permission for bringing a parent of a highly skilled foreign professional under certain conditions

(7) Permission for a domestic servant employed by a highly skilled person under certain conditions

(Note) The “5 years period of stay” will be implemented after the implementation date of the amended Immigration Control and Refugee Recognition Act (July 9, 2012), which was approved and established in 2009.

For more details of the preferential treatment, please click here.

4. Public notices by the Ministry of Justice

Two public notices related to the system were published in March 30, 2012.

- Public notice on highly skilled foreign professionals: A public notice that stipulates the activities falling under the category of the residence status of “Designated Activities” for the foreign nationals who wish to enter Japan as highly skilled foreign professionals and their family members and domestic workers

- Guidelines for highly skilled foreign professionals who have already been staying in Japan: A public notice that stipulates handling guidelines for procedures of renewing the period of stay and of changing the residence status of the foreign nationals who stay in Japan as highly skilled foreign professionals and their family members and domestic workers

5. Frequently asked questions