Highly-skilled professionals (as in, highly-skilled foreign professionals)

The term “highly-skilled professionals” refers to foreigners who qualify for a status of residence in Japan, who also have exceptional professional talents and abilities.

This is more precisely defined in the “Report for the Council of Hiring Highly Skilled Professionals” as “exceptional workers who can contribute to the capital and labor of Japan in a way that Japanese nationals cannot” and “workers who are expected to improve the efficiency of our nation’s labor market by contributing to innovation in domestic industries, as well as stimulating the development of the specialized and technical labor market through hard work alongside Japanese workers.”

In May 2012, the Japanese government introduced a preferential treatment system for the immigration of highly skilled foreign workers, one that uses a point system. This was to promote the acceptance of highly skilled foreign workers in Japan.

Basically, the activities of highly-skilled foreign workers can be divided into three categories – high level academic research, high level specialized or technical work, and high level management and administration. Workers earn points according to several factors – such as their academic history, work history, and annual salary. If they have 70 points total, they can get preferential treatment from immigration.

There are also different classes of highly skilled professional statuses. At the most basic level, workers can qualify to be a “Class 1 Highly Skilled Professional.” This gives them certain permissions, such as permission for multiple kinds of activities in Japan, a 5 year period of stay on their visa, easing of requirements for permanent residency, permission for their spouse to work, bringing parents along to Japan under set conditions, bringing domestic servants to Japan under set conditions, and preferential treatment regarding entering the country and immigration procedures.

When a highly-skilled foreign worker has been in Japan for 3 years or more under Class 1, they qualify for Class 2, which, in addition to all the other permissions granted, gives no limit on their period of stay in Japan.

[Reference site] – Points-based Preferential Immigration Treatment for Highly-Skilled Foreign Professionals

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