Japan's Visa Changes and Your Job Search

Mieke Aarsman 20 Jun 2017

The land of the rising sun has a special allure to it for many people seeking to relocate internationally. Whether you are a C++ Developer, Project Manager or IT Director, there is something special about this place I chose to call home alongside almost 2 million other non Japanese people.

With the 2020 Olympics looming in the near future, and the rapidly aging workforce, Japan is likely to see an increase in the number of foreign workers to fill gaps in their skill base. Luckily, the good folks at the Ministry of Justice, responsible for work permits, have realised this and have recently introduced revised rules for some people wishing to come here, and especially those seeking permanent residency.

This all sounds great, and it hopefully will be, but the biggest change will be for Highly Skilled Foreign Professionals only.

What does this mean? Well, in effect, the new government criteria assign points based on certain skills, and mean that you can potentially gain a visa, and permanent residency, in a shorter time than in the past. The government has a very thorough website explaining the details here.

The key points I want to bring out of this rule change is - what can you do to make yourself more marketable and likely to get a visa? I think the three points below are vital in ensuring you can score enough points from the government:

  • Language skills - they assign 15 points if you hold N1 of the JLPT and this isn’t just a bonus for the sake of the visa - it will increase your marketability to companies ten-fold.
  • Salary - a whopping 40 points are awarded to people earning over 10 million Yen equivalent in their home country - Japan clearly wants to attract senior professionals with this rule change
  • Education - for IT professionals, if you hold a masters degree, that counts up to 30 points toward the visa requirements, and again, depending on the specialisation, will increase your marketability. 


These are just 3 of the points I chose to highlight, but if you are an IT professional looking to come to Japan, or a hiring manager considering tapping into the foreign talent pool, feel free to drop us a line and see if we can help.

Mieke Aarsman's picture
Senior Consultant | IT Recruitment