IMPACT – MEDIUM

What is the change? Japan has implemented changes to make it easier for work visa holders with high scores on Japan’s points evaluation mechanism to obtain permanent residence.

What does the change mean? Under the change, highly skilled professionals and other work visa holders will be eligible for permanent residency after three years of residency in Japan if they earn a score of 70 or more points on the points evaluation mechanism. Those who earn a score of 80 or above will be eligible after just one year. Previously, foreign workers could only apply for permanent residency after 4 ½ years in Japan.

  • Implementation time frame: Immediate and ongoing.
  • Visas/permits affected: Any work visa/status of residence category for foreign nationals.
  • Who is affected: Highly skilled professionals and other work visa holders interested in obtaining permanent residence.
  • Business impact: The easing of the rules could make Japan a more attractive destination for companies to place foreign employees and assignees.

BAL Analysis: The changes were debated for months before being implemented in late April. They reflect Japan’s goal of improving the permanent residency process to better retain high-skilled foreign talent.