New Specified Skills Visa for Japan: Your Questions Answered

Source: Gaijin Pot

In May this year, Prime Minister Abe announced the creation of a new visa type, provisionally named the “Specified Skills” (tokutei ginou, 特定技能) visa from April 2019. The policy shift signalled a move to open Japan’s doors to the much-needed additional foreign labour that would help plug the gaps in sectors feeling a particular strain.

In the original announcement, the government proposed to allow more than 500,000 foreign workers to be employed by five industries by 2025. These industries were agriculture, nursing care, construction, ship building and lodging and hospitality. In a significant departure from current laws, the visa requirements would not include a degree and would allow holders the chance to upgrade to permanent residency in Japan.

Since then, it has been drafting the details and a recent update shows that there will in fact be two new visa statuses: Specified Skills 1 and Specified Skills 2, that will potentially apply to 14 industries in total. The industries that will qualify are to be jointly decided by the Ministry of Justice and the ministry responsible for the industry itself.

Let’s take a look at these two new visas in greater detail, and examine what they might mean.

Are there any restrictions on who can apply for the visa?

So far, the government has only specified two restrictions. As with most visas, those convicted of criminal offences in their home countries are unlikely to be accepted.

Second, residents of countries with whom Japan does not have an agreement on repatriation after deportation, Iran being the most prominent example, are also unable to apply.

Based on past precedent, it is likely that further criteria, such as age restrictions, may be added at a later date before the scheme opens to applicants — currently set for April 2019.

Who needs workers?

There are 14 different industries which the government …continue reading