I was listening to the radio on my drive home from work a few days ago when I heard the news that the Japanese Government has decided to create a new type of working visa for foreigners which could be available as early as April, 2019. I decided to research the topic and didn’t find any articles in English, so I decided to write a post about the Japanese articles I read.
UPDATE (June 8, 2019): For additional updated information about this visa read my new post
- 1 New Japanese Visa Classification: Designated Skills (including Manual Labor)
- 2 The differences between the “Type 1” and “Type 2” Visas
- 3 What are the 14 Fields?
- 4 What is required to get this visa?
- 5 Wages, Changing jobs, and other rules
- 6 All Countries are not Equal
- 7 Conclusion
New Japanese Visa Classification: Designated Skills (including Manual Labor)
The new visa classification is called 特定技能 (tokutei gino – “designated skills”) and allows work from 14 different fields including manual labor. They are planning to implement 2 types of this new “designated skills” visa called 1号 (ichigou) which I will call “type 1” and 2号 (nigou) which I will call “type 2”.
The differences between the “Type 1” and “Type 2” Visas
|Visa Classification||Designated Skills Type 1||Designated Skills Type 2|
|Specifications||For foreigners who have adequate knowledge and skills required to work in one of 14 fields||For foreigners who are highly skilled experts in one of 2 designated fields|
|Length of Stay||5 years||indefinite|
|Ability to bring family||No||Yes|
What are the 14 Fields?
As I mentioned earlier, 14 fields have been specified by the Japanese government for this new Japanese visa (2 fields for Type 2). So what are they exactly? Well, let’s see.
|Type 1||Type 2|
|建設業 (Construction)||建設業 (Construction)|
|航空業（空港グランドハンドリング・航空機整備）(Airport staff – ground handling and aircraft repair)|
|素形材産業（鋳造など）(Industrial Manufacturing – Metalworking)|
|産業機械製造業 (Industrial Machinery Manufacturing)|
|電子・電気機器関連産業 (Electrical Manufacturing)|
From what I can tell, this list is mostly made up of manual labor, manufacturing, farming, and service jobs. The news that I heard on the radio also emphasized that the new visa would be the first of its kind to allow foreigners to do “simple labor” (単純労働 – tanjun roudou) or manual labor jobs.
What is required to get this visa?
Both Type 1 and Type 2 require basic Japanese conversation skills and enough knowledge of Japanese language and culture to survive daily life.
The Japanese government is looking for foreigners who are ready to work and who have sufficient Japanese to work and live in Japan. In order to determine this, they are making a test for each field of work.
When is the test?
The tests in the fields of Restaurant, Hospitality, and Caregiving will likely be set for April, 2019, while it seems that the remaining 11 tests will be set sometime after May.
What is on the test?
I haven’t been able to find any specific information yet about the test, but I assume it tests basic knowledge of the field in which the person is applying.
JLPT N4 Requirement
Some sites I have looked at seem to imply that the JLPT N4 qualification may also be required in order to get this visa. Other sites do not mention this specifically but say that basic Japanese conversation skills are required. In any case, if you want to come to Japan, I recommend trying to get to this level at least!
Wages, Changing jobs, and other rules
Learning from past mistakes, it seems like the Japanese government is going to enforce the same wage laws for companies hiring foreigners on this visa type as it does for its own citizens. Nobody should have to work for less than the local minimum wage, considering the cost of living in that area.
In addition, it will be possible to change jobs on this visa. However, you will need to file the necessary paperwork at the immigration office and the new job must be in the same field as your old one.
Obviously, if you neglect to file any necessary paperwork like your visa extension application or if you are arrested for criminal activity, your visa can be taken away.
All Countries are not Equal
According to various sources, if you are from a country that has a large number of illegal immigrants or that refuses to take back its citizens in the case they are deported from Japan, you will likely have a much harder time getting this visa.
This news is still developing and will likely have several changes before everything is set and done. I wrote this post on November 3, 2018 and all of my sources were written within the past month. If you would like to know more, feel free to research by yourself.
UPDATE: Jan. 27, 2019: Thank you all for reading my post. Although I am glad that many people have found it to be helpful, seeing as I am not an expert I have decided to refrain from giving any personal advice on this subject. If you wish to know specific information regarding your own visa situation, I recommend talking to an immigration lawyer about it. Sorry I could not be of more help. Best of luck.
Radio News (sorry, I don’t know how to reference this)