Things you need to know about Highly Skilled Professional Visa for Japan

Things you need to know about Highly Skilled Professional Visa for Japan

Aiming to attract more highly skilled foreigners to work and live in Japan, the Highly Skilled Professional Visa was introduced by the Japanese government. In this article, we are going to explain the basic things you need to know about the Highly Skilled Professional Visa to make use of it. Foreign nationals, who are recognized as highly skilled professionals engaging in activities that fall under any of the following categories (1) through (3) , may obtain the visa of "Highly Skilled Professional"( which is also called as "HSP" visa for short).
Several preferential treatment measures are granted to the holders of Highly Skilled Professional visas, which are considered to be the attractive points for foreigners who wish to work and live in Japan.

 

1. Activities covered by Highly Skilled Professional Visa

The following 3 categories of activities are covered by Highly Skilled Professional Visa:

(1) Highly Skilled Professional (a) Highly Skilled Academic Research Activities Activities of engaging in teaching, research guidance or education based on a contract entered into with a public or private organization in Japan, which include activities of managing businesses in conjunction with research activities.

(2) Highly Skilled Professional (b) Highly Skilled Professional/Technical Activities Activities of engaging in services that require knowledge or skills in the field of natural sciences or social sciences, based on a contract entered into with a public or private organization in Japan, which include activities of conducting marketing and sales while engaging in product development activities, or managing businesses in conjunction with above activities.

(3) Highly Skilled Professional (c) Highly Skilled Business Management Activities Activities of engaging in the management of the business of public and private organizations in Japan.

 

 

2. Preferential treatment for Highly Skilled Professionals

The preferential treatment is available for Highly Skilled Professional Visa holders, such as preferential conditions for Permanent Residence, provided by the Japanese Government, which is not available for other visas. Each of these preferential treatment measures will be explained in detail below.

 

(1) Permission for multiple activities
In general, foreign nationals are allowed to engage in activities permitted under only one kind of visa (Status of Residence) in Japan. However, for Highly Skilled Professional Visa holders, they are allowed to engage in more activities covered by multiple visas (Statuses of Residence). For example, it is possible to conduct IT-related research activities at universities and other research facilities while managing IT companies.

 

(2) Grant of the "5 years" period of stay
For normal foreign nationals, the Period of Stay granted will vary by the conditions of the application. For the Period of Stay under the "Technology/Specialist in Humanities/International Service Visa", the visa can grand stays of up to 5 years, 3 years, 1 year, or 3 months depending on the size of the company to which they belong to and whether they are fully complying with the obligations imposed on the applicants, such as the obligations of notification.
For Highly Skilled Professional Visa Holders, a Period of Stay of 5 years will be granted, which is the maximum Period of Stay allowed.

 

(3) Preferential treatment for Permanent Residence application
For normal foreign nationals, they are required to continuously stay in Japan for at least 10 years in principle in order to apply for Permanent Residence.
However, Highly Skilled Professional Visa holders are eligible to apply for Permanent Residence under the following conditions:

  1. They have been conducting activities as a Highly Skilled Professional for 3 consecutive years; or
  2. Among Highly Skilled Professionals, they are recognized that they score at least 80 points according to the Highly Skilled Professional Score Sheet and they have been conducting activities as a Highly Skilled Professional for at least 1 year.

(4) Work permission for their spouses
For foreign nationals staying in japan as the spouse of normal foreign nationals working in japan with other types of eligible working visas, it is necessary for the spouse to obtain the relevant visa by satisfying certain requirements such as academic background and working experience if the spouse wishes to work as a full-time employee. In other words, such spouse must obtain a new visa other than a spouse visa.
However, for the foreign spouse of Highly Skilled Professional Visa holders, if the spouse wishes to work in Japan by conducting activities that fall under visa categories of "Education", "Technology/Specialist in Humanities/International Service "etc., even if such spouse may not meet the above requirements, such spouse is still eligible to work full-time under a spouse visa.

 

(5) Bringing parents to accompany the Highly Skilled Foreign Professionals to Japan under certain conditions
Under the current system, foreign nationals who reside with a working visa in Japan are not allowed to bring their parents to Japan. However, parents of Highly Skilled Professional Visa holders are allowed to stay in Japan to accompany the Highly Skilled Foreign Processionals in the following cases:

  1. The case where a Highly Skilled Professional Visa holder or his/her spouse takes care of their child (children) under the age of 7 (including the adopted child (children)).
  2. The case where a Highly Skilled Professional Visa holder takes care of his/her its spouse who is pregnant or take.
    In the cases above, certain requirements below must be met to be eligible. Certain Major requirements of them include the following:
  3. The annual household income of the Highly Skilled Professional Visa holder to be at least JPY 8 million;
  4. Living together with the Highly Skilled Professional Visa holder; and
  5. They have been conducting activities as a Highly Skilled Professional for 3 consecutive years; or
  6. Being the parents of either the Highly Skilled Professional Visa holder or the spouse of the Highly Skilled Professional Visa holder.

(6) Bringing domestic workers to accompany Highly Skilled Professional Visa holder to Japan under certain conditions

Employment of domestic workers from abroad is permitted only for a limited types of visa holders such as "Business Manager Visa" holders or "Legal and Accounting Services Visa" holders. However, for Highly Skilled Professional Visa holders, it is possible for them to bring their domestic workers to Japan by meeting certain requirements as follows.

 

A. Conditions for the continued employment of the same domestic worker in Japan who have been employed abroad

  1. The annual household income of the Highly Skilled Professional Visa holder to be at least JPY 10 million;
  2. A maximum of 1 domestic worker can be brought into Japan;
  3. The monthly salary to be paid to such domestic worker to be at least JPY 200 thousand;
  4. When entering Japan together with the Highly Skilled Professional Visa holder, the domestic worker must have been employed by the Highly Skilled Professional Visa holder for at least 1 year prior to entry into Japan;
  5. When the Highly Skilled Professional Visa holder enters Japan before the domestic worker, the domestic worker must have been employed by the Highly Skilled Professional Visa holder for at least 1 year prior to entry into Japan, and the domestic worker must continue to be employed by the Highly Skilled Professional Visa holder or continue to be employed by relatives who lived together with the Highly Skilled Professional Visa holder before entry into Japan; and
  6. Departing from Japan together with the Highly Skilled Professional Visa holder.

 

B. Conditions for the employment of domestic workers other than case A

  1. The annual household income of the Highly Skilled Professional Visa holder to be at least JPY 10 million;
  2. The maximum of 1 domestic worker can be brought to Japan;
  3. The monthly salary to be payed to such domestic worker to be at least JPY 200 thousand; and
  4. Under exceptional conditions (at the time of application, having a child (children) under 13 years of age or taking care of the spouse who is unable to engage in daily household work due to illness, etc.).

(7) Priority processing of visa procedures

The Immigration Bureau will review and handle the application form Highly Skilled Professional Visa applicants in a prioritized manner.
For the Highly Skilled Professional Visa applicant, the pre-entry examination is supposed to be taken approximately 10 days after acceptance of the application, and the residence examination is supposed to be taken approximately 5 days after the acceptance of the application.
However, for normal working visas, it is supposed to take about 30 days from the acceptance of application. Therefore, it can be said that the processing of issuing visas for Highly Skilled Professionals by the Immigration Bureau is approximately 3 times faster than issuing other visas.

 

 

3. Basic documents for applying for Highly Skilled Professional Visa

The following is an example of an application for the Highly Skilled Professional Visa. Since the documents for each application may vary by the situations of each particular case. The document listed below will be only for reference.

(1) Documents clarifying the applicant's academic background and career:

  1. Documents in which the applicant's academic background and career can be clarified;
  2. Documents proving the academic background of the applicant;
  3. Documents proving the career; and
  4. Qualifications, licenses, and other documents evidencing the backgrounds of the applicant.

(2) Documents clarifying the applicant's activities in Japan (job description), position, compensation, and length of activities:

  1. Documents issued by the contracting organization in Japan to which the applicant belongs to.

(3) Documents clarifying the applicant's contracting organization in Japan:

  1. Brochures outlining the organization;
  2. The certificate of registry of the organization;
  3. Financial statements of the latest accounting year; and
  4. (For a newly established organization), a business plan, a notice of establishment and a statement of income tax collection for the latest 3 months.

(4) Point Calculation Table for Highly Skilled Professional:

 

(5) Other documents required by the Immigration Bureau.

In order to satisfy the requirements for a Highly Skilled Professional Visa, it is necessary to score a total of 70 points or more on the Point Calculation Table for Highly Skilled Professional in the relevant category.

 

 

4. Highly Skilled Professional Visa No.2

Highly skilled Professionals Visa has 2 categories of No. 1 and No. 2. After working in Japan for 3 years or more under the visa of Highly Skilled Professional Visa No.1, the Highly Skilled Professional Visa holder will be eligible to obtain the Highly Skilled Professional Visa No. 2 by applying for permission for a change.
The holder of Highly skilled professionals Visa No. 2 can engage in the activities of Highly Skilled Professionals (a) through (b) for an indefinite period, which means that the holder will be permitted to stay in Japan permanently.
Highly Skilled Professional Visa No.2 is considered to be very similar to Permanent Residence, but below are some of the significant differences between these two.
For Highly skilled professionals Visa No. 2, the period of stay is indefinite, but the contents of activities in Japan are limited to the range of either Highly Skilled Professional (a), (b) or (c) permitted under each category.
We advise that if you wish to receive preferential treatment for a Highly skilled professionals Visa while continuing to engage in any activities of either Highly Skilled Professional (a), (b) or (c), we recommend you to obtain the Highly Skilled Professional Visa No. 2 over Permanent Residents. On the other hand, it would be better to apply for the Permanent Resident if you wish to have no restrictions on activities rather than preferential treatment for Highly skilled professionals Visa.
If you wish to obtain Highly Skilled Professional Visa No. 2, you are required to engage in activities in Japan for at least 3 years under the Highly Skilled Professional Visa No. 1. After the 3-year experience, an application for the change to Highly Skilled Professional Visa No. 2 may be made.

 

If you have any questions or you need any support regarding the Highly Skilled Professional Visa, please feel free to contact us. We would like to provide you with more detailed and particular information on the visa or as well as other legal consultation.

 

 

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