Japan to ease permanent resident conditions for foreign professionals


The government is considering relaxing requirements for highly skilled foreigners to obtain permanent residency status in Japan as it expects them to help enhance the nation’s international competitiveness, according to government sources.

The government plans to submit a bill to revise the immigration control law to the ordinary Diet session, which convenes Friday, enabling corporate managers as well as highly skilled researchers and professionals to obtain permanent resident visas after three years of residency in Japan instead of the current five years, the sources said.

Under the current system, foreign nationals need more than 10 years of residency in Japan to get permanent residency, but foreigners with high skills need only five years for the status.

The government plans to shorten the required period from five years to three for researchers studying advanced information technologies and cutting-edge medical technologies, people involved in the development of new materials and top managers of global companies, the sources said.

Around 2.03 million foreign nationals were staying in Japan as of the end of 2012, including about 620,000 permanent residents, according to the Justice Ministry.

  • One qualifies as “Highly Skilled” by meeting a certain point requirement from the government. But there are fewer than 500 foreign nationals who have actually passed the point requirements. (Who knows how few actually applied). Look up what it takes to qualify for it, it’s ridiculous.

    Why is the government spending all this time on something that affects so few people and prospectively will have little effect on attracting HSW to come to Japan and work? Do they really think those workers are so productive as to put a dent in the Japanese economy?

    Generally those who want to come to Japan are young. And highly skilled workers in general are not that young. The most common occupation for highly skilled workers in Japan is “researcher”. But if someone has a position as a researcher at a young age, they are generally not making enough money to pass the salary requirements in the Japanese HS point system. What 24-34 year old researcher is making the equivalent of 10 million yen a year?

    None of this is addressed by changing the number 5 to a number 3 in some lawbook somewhere. The only way this has any meaning is if it is a pre-amble to the 10 year qualification for non-HS workers being commensurately lowered to 5-7 years. Otherwise, all that is accomplished here is politicians wasting everyone’s time and money — while headlines get written like something that actually matters has changed.

    If we’re going to emerge from this horrible debt and stagnation it is going to take all of us finding the best within ourselves. Not a handful of HS workers getting an easier ride into the Land of the Rising Sun. The kind of leadership we need from the state is…someone who believes in us. Someone who will return to us the freedom to act, the rewards to take risks…someone who knows that they can’t live our lives for us, nor keep us from our dreams. Someone who has the courage not to offer sympathy and other people’s money, but rather liberty and the removal of the perverse welfare incentives to not grow. Someone who believes in the purity of human nature, and whose belief in that is untainted by how many people have actually made a mess of their lives.

    Only under that belief can Japan get out of her slow decline and rise into a future that is brighter than ever. Foreign workers, under such leadership, come to properly be viewed as wonderful benefits. Because under those free conditions, they can only maintain their life here by their own productivity — and everyone is better off because of that kind of contribution, large or small, from someone “skilled” or “unskilled”.