Everything You Need to Know About the Newest Working Visa Type in Japan

It just started last April 2019.

Photo Pixabay


If you’ve ever considered moving to Japan to work there, you’re already aware that there are several opportunities for Filipinos and foreigners in the country. It’s all a matter of figuring out what type of working visa fits your skill set and lifestyle.


With the many
working visa types available in Japan, there are two—one  of which was just introduced recently—very similar-sounding visas based on their descriptions alone: Technical Intern Training (Ginou Jisshu) and Specified Skilled Worker (Tokutei Ginou).


Before we get into the requirements and application process of the Specified Skilled Worker visa, let’s learn more about its history and what makes it different from the Technical Intern Training visa.


History and Differences


The Technical Intern Training was first introduced with the objective to “transfer” skills, knowledge, and technology to promote international cooperation by contributing to human resource development. The trainees and interns would acquire or develop their skills, which would otherwise be difficult to do in their home countries. There are three stages (i), (ii), and (iii), with varying degrees of mastery in their particular fields (certified by tests) and length of stay. Of course, as interns, there is a maximum period of stay of five years, and participants are expected to return to their home countries soon after their visa expires.


However, as mentioned earlier, the Technical Intern Training serves as an international contribution of Japan, and “transferring skills and technology” means that the target industries are limited. Because people who are involved in this program are “learning” more than “working”, they are mostly engaged in training and educational activities. They are also required to return to their home country at the end of the program. It is also important to note that under this system, re-entry and re-training are not permitted for the same job type. 


And so, with Japan’s plummeting population, it came to the point that there simply aren’t enough workers to sustain the major industries. And so, the
Specified Skilled Worker visa was born. 


With a
minimum of five years (for the Specified Skilled Worker (i)) and an opportunity to upgrade to a visa with no limit to the number of years of residency (Specified Skilled Worker (ii)), it is essentially a mega-upgrade of the formerly mentioned visa. 


Because acquiring human resources is the main purpose of this new visa type, Japan is actually encouraging people to
stay in the country longer. Another advantage to this new visa type is the ability to change companies (so long as you stay in the same industry), as well as having no required training prior to starting work (say goodbye to training fees). 

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Once you upgrade to the Specified Skilled Worker (ii) visa, you can also
bring your family members to Japan to live with you—possibly the biggest advantage not available for those who have the Technical Intern Training visa type. 


There are still requisites and rules, of course, but compared to the Technical Intern Training visa, the rules for the Specified Skilled Worker visa are more relaxed and flexible, making it much easier for a worker to come to Japan.


Since its enactment in 1995, there is more than enough information on the Technical Intern Training. The Specified Skilled Worker visa is a fairly new concept with very minimal official information available at the moment. We will share what we can, however, take note that there might be updates and changes following the enactment of this program.


The following are the biggest differences in the two visas: 

Technical Intern Training 

Specified Skilled Worker

Enactment

April 1, 1995

April 2019

Purpose

Training (Transfer of Skills)

Human Resource

Residency Period

Maximum of 5 years

(Technical Intern Training (i) – 1 year; (ii) – 2 years; (iii) – 2 years for a total of 5 years) 

Minimum of 5 years

Specified Skilled Worker (i) – 5 years

Specified Skilled Worker (ii) – no limit

Bringing of Family Members to Japan

Not allowed

For Specified Skilled Worker (i) – Not allowed

For Specified Skilled Worker (ii) – Yes

Fields

As of November 16, 2018:

80 Fields

As of November 27, 2018:

For Specified Skilled Worker (i) – 14 fields

For Specified Skilled Worker (ii)– 2 fields

(See full list below)

Training Period

Required (a certain number of hours depending on the industry)

Not required

Fees Required

Training Fee (+living expenses), Application Fee, Travel expenses to and from Japan 

Optional (Some fees may incur, but are not required) 

Pre-test Before Entering Japan

None (Except for caregivers who are required to have passed at least a Japanese Language Proficiency Test N4 level) 

Yes, knowledge and Japanese language test (but those who have successfully completed the Technical Intern Training (ii) and above are exempted from the exam.)

Changing Employment

Not allowed 

Allowed (as long as it is in the same industry) 


Learn about how to apply for the Technical Intern Training visa
here.


Just looking at the basic differences, the Specified Skilled Worker visa almost sounds too good to be true. Let’s delve into it deeper.


Industry Types


As indicated in the table below, there are 14 industries that will be taking in workers for the Specified Skilled Worker (i) and two industries for the Specified Skilled Worker (ii).
See Article: 14 Industry Types


Right now, only the
Construction Industry, as well as Shipbuilding and Ship Machinery Industry, are taking in workers at the moment for the Specified Skilled Worker (ii) visa. If the industries you think your skill set falls under is not part of the list,  it is highly expected that more industries will open up in the future.


Salary and Benefits


As with the Technical Intern Training, the people who will fall under the Specified Skilled Worker visa are still under the Labor Laws. Given this, they will receive the same base minimum
wage and benefits (or even more, depending on the industry and length of experience), and will basically be treated like a typical Japanese person. 


References:


Immigration Bureau, Ministry of Justice
Tokyo Shimbun


 (11 April 2019)

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