What is good about Highly Skilled Professionals?
In 2012, working visa for Highly Skilled Professionals（高度専門職ビザ Kōdo Senmon Shoku Visa) was introduced. Since then, many people applied for this visa to receive special benefits which Japanese government prepared to invite highly skilled workforce.
Benefit 1: Longer Period of Stay
Highly Skilled Professionals are permitted to stay for 5 years from the beginning, while other working visas usually start from 1 year. Besides, after 3 years of stay in Japan as Highly Skilled Professionals, they can apply for the second stage of Highly Skilled Professionals（高度専門職2号 Kōdo Senmon Shoku 2 Gō）, which lasts for indefinite period. In other words, Highly Skilled Professionals can avoid annoying repetition of the renewal process, like permanent residence.
Benefit 2: Shortcut to Permanent Residence
To apply for permanent residence, 10 years of stay in Japan is usually required. However, Highly Skilled Professionals can apply for PR only after three years. Moreover, if you have over 80 points under Point-based system(we’ll explain this system below), you can apply for PR only after one year.
Benefit 3: Spouse’s work activities
As we explained in the article about Dependent Visa, a holder of Dependent Visa can only work up to 28 hours per week.
However, as a benefit of Highly Skilled Professional Visa, if a spouse of Highly Skilled Professional finds a job in Japan, he or she can change its status from Dependent Visa to Designated Activities which allow him or her to work fulltime. Please note that unlike Dependent Visa, simple labor such as staff of convenience store or restaurant is not permitted under this Designated Activities.
Benefit 4: Permission for calling your parent(s)
Without receiving supports from parents, balancing childcare and work is not easy, especially when a child gets sick but both wife and husband are busy for working. But non-Japanese residents are basically not permitted to call their parent(s) to Japan for long period to receive their assistance for childcare.
On the other hand, Highly Skilled Professional may call either one couple of your parent(s) or your spouse’s parent(s) to Japan.
They can stay in Japan while you or your spouse have a child under 7 years old or while you or your spouse is pregnant.
To call their parent(s) to Japan, your household annual salary (= sum of your salary and your spouse’s salary) must be 8 million yen or more and the parent(s) need to live together in your house.
There are many other benefits for Highly Skilled Professionals described in the website of immigration.
Who can apply for Highly Skilled Professionals?
To apply for Highly Skilled Professional, you have to score at least 70 points in the “Point-based system” established by immigration bureau. In the Point-based system, points are calculated based on your academic background, career experience, annual salary, age and many other conditions.
You can find the Point Calculation Table in the website of immigration.
As you can see from the Point Calculation Table, the points are allocated differently to the type of activity which you will plan engage in Japan. You need to choose right type which your activity will fall into to calculate your points .
Highly Skilled Professionals are classified into 3 types.
There are 3 types of activities permitted under Highly Skilled Professional Visa as follows:
(a) Advanced Academic Research Activities
These are activities related to advanced research to be conducted under the contract with private or public institution in Japan. Professors of universities and researchers of research institutions fall under this type.
(b) Advanced Specialized/Technical Activities
These are activities which require specialized knowledge, skills or experience in the fields of natural sciences or humanities (e.g. laws, economics, social science, etc) to be conducted under the contract with public or private institution in Japan.
Engineers, programmers, lawyer, legal officer, business consultant, doctor, manager and officer of companies and many other jobs can fall under this category depending on the level of expertise required for the job.
(c) Advanced Business Management Activities
These are activities of operation or management of Japanese public or private organization. This type are intended for directors, officers and managers who hold upper managerial position in organizations.
When non-Japanese workers are employed by a company for some job such as IT specialist, engineer, or programmer, companies usually apply for working visa on behalf of them.
In such cases, companies tend to choose Visa for Engineer, Specialist in Humanity International Service (技術人文知識国際ビザ Gijutsu Jinbunchishiki Kokusai Visa or Gijinkoku Visa for Short), because they are more accustomed to this visa than Highly Skilled Professional Visa.
But if you have 70 points or more, you should think about applying for Highly Skilled Professional Visa and discuss the availability with your company, because as we discussed above, there are many benefits in this visa.