Japan's Ministry of Justice, which oversees immigration, this week announced new rules governing permanent residency, hoping to attract and keep more highly skilled workers from overseas.
The new measures will go into effect in March and could make it possible for some applicants to receive permanent residency after just one year in Japan.
Basically, all immigrants become eligible for permanent residency after living in Japan for 10 years.
In 2012, however, the Ministry introduced a points-based system to shorten the wait for highly skilled applicants in three categories: advanced academic research activities, advanced specialized/technical activities, and advanced business-management activities. Applicants in these categories who scored sufficient points by the system's rubric were eligible for a permanent-resident visa after five years.
The latest changes further shorten that period to just three years for those scoring over 70 points and just one year for those scoring over 80 points. They have also added additional ways to earn points, such as awarding investment in Japanese businesses and degrees from highly rated institutions.
The point system is loosely broken into categories such as academic background, career achievements, salary, age, licenses, position, and special achievements. An applicant's achievements in each category are rated on a point scale. For example, having a doctorate will net you 30 points, while a master's will get you 20. Being a company operator with an annual income of at least 30 million yen (about $261,700) will get you 50 points, but if you pull in only 25 million yen (about $218,000), you'll get 40 points.
For a complete explanation of the points system and a self-assessment form, see this English page on the Ministry's website, though they haven't updated it with the new information as of publication.
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