Japan might put highly skilled foreign workers on fast track
The Justice Ministry of Japan plans to encourage foreign nationals with expertise in sectors that are expanding to settle in Japan by including them in a special scheme that shortens the required period of stay to acquire permanent residence status.
The ministry is scheduled to revise its guideline as early as next year in the hopes the measure will increase Japan’s competitiveness.
Currently, foreign nationals whose contribution to Japan can be approved will be allowed to apply for permanent residency if they stay in Japan for five consecutive years. Permanent residency usually requires 10 consecutive years. The main fields of contribution are diplomacy, economy and industry, culture and arts, and sports.
With the upcoming revision, the ministry plans to add sectors that are expanding to the list. The ministry exemplifies these as regenerative medicine, the internet of things, or IoT, where everything is connected via the internet, and others.
There are currently some cases in which foreign nationals are eligible for a special scheme in the economy and industry sector. “By specifying the sectors that are growing, we’d like to promote our stance to welcome foreign nationals in these sectors to settle in Japan,” said a senior official at the ministry.
The government introduced accepting highly skilled foreign nationals in its growth strategy and adopted a point-based system for highly skilled professionals in 2012.
The system converted a foreign national’s academic background, job history, annual income and other aspects into points. Those who achieved the necessary points are eligible to obtain preferential treatment in acquiring permanent residence status.
According to the ministry, the number of foreign residents in Japan with permanent visa status is increasing. As of the end of June, it was at a record-high 713,604
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