Explanation of the application process for advanced human resources (advanced professionals)

6/27/2021 Updated

In recent years, the hiring of foreign nationals has become more active in Japan, and the acceptance of high-level foreign human resources has been promoted as a national strategy by setting up a “point system” and preferential treatment. Nevertheless, there is still a serious shortage of labor force in Japan, and many companies are unable to hire excellent human resources. This is because even if they know the terms “advanced foreign human resources” and “advanced human resources point system,” many companies do not know the applicable requirements and application procedures and are unable to take the initiative to utilize them. In this article, we will explain the general flow of application procedures for highly skilled foreign human resources (highly skilled professionals) and the documents required for application. If you are considering hiring highly skilled foreign human resources, you should definitely keep this in mind.

Outline of application procedures for advanced human resources

There are two types of “Highly Skilled Worker” visa statuses: “Highly Skilled Worker No. 1” and “Highly Skilled Worker No. 2,” which are also called “Highly Skilled Worker” visas and enjoy preferential treatment under immigration control. There are two types of “Advanced Profession 1” and “Advanced Profession 2”. The “Advanced Profession 1” is classified into “I, II, and III” according to the nature of the activity.

Activities status of residence (in Japan)
Advanced academic research activities Advanced Specialist 1 (a) Activities to conduct research, teach research, or provide education based on a contract with a public or private institution in Japan
e.g., university professor or researcher.
Highly specialized and technical activities Advanced Specialist 1 (b) Activities to engage in work requiring knowledge or skills belonging to the field of natural science or humanities, performed under contract with public or private organizations in Japan.
Examples: Researchers in chemistry, biology, psychology, sociology, etc.
Advanced management and administrative activities Advanced Specialist 1 (c) Activities to manage or engage in the management of a business in a public or private organization in Japan
e.g. manager, officer, etc.

Source: How does the point evaluation work? Immigration and Naturalization Service, http://www.moj.go.jp/isa/publications/materials/newimmiact_3_evaluate_index.html

The “Advanced Specialist II” status is granted to “Advanced Specialist I” status holders after they have been active for three years or more. Therefore, if you are applying for an advanced foreign human resources status for the first time, only “Advanced Profession 1” is applicable.

The application process is divided into the following two main patterns.

  1. Foreigners who will be entering Japan in the near future:
    Application for a Certificate of Eligibility

  1. Foreigners already residing in Japan
    Application for Change of Status of Residence

    *If a foreigner who is already residing in Japan as an advanced foreign human resource applies for extension of period of stay, the application will be called “Application for Extension of Period of Stay. The examination process is the same as for “Application for Change of Status of Residence”.

Application for entry as a high-level human resource

Those who will be entering Japan as high-level foreign human resources must meet the requirements in the “Application for Change of Status of Residence” and pass the examination by the “Immigration and Refugee Management Agency”.

Procedures for applying for a Certificate of Eligibility

Step 1: Apply at the regional immigration office.
Application for a Certificate of Eligibility
Apply for one of the following statuses of residence that corresponds to your planned activities.
“Advanced Profession 1 (A)”
“Advanced Profession 1 (B)”
“Advanced Profession 1 (C)

* It is not necessary for the foreigner himself/herself to apply. It does not have to be the foreigner himself/herself. Application by the receiving organization is also possible. It is not necessary for the foreigner himself/herself to apply.

Application for Approval as an Advanced Foreign Human Resource
Submit a “point calculation sheet” and “materials to substantiate the points” for the activities planned after entering Japan.
*Points are those established in the “advanced human resources point system”.

Step 2: Review by the Immigration and Naturalization Service
The Immigration Control and Refugee Recognition Agency will examine the application for “Step 1” based on “Article 7, Paragraph 1, Item 2 of the Immigration Control and Refugee Recognition Act” for “compliance with landing conditions”. Point calculation is also carried out at the same time.

Examination result
◯ Conformity with the landing condition and applicable status of residence A “Certificate of Eligibility” will be issued if your application passes the examination. The “Certificate of Eligibility” will not be issued because the examination was not passed.

* Even if the “Advanced Profession” status of residence is not applicable, there are cases in which other statuses of residence meet the landing requirements. In such cases, a “Certificate of Eligibility” may be issued under the applicable status of residence at the applicant’s request.

Step 3: Issuance of Certificate of Eligibility
Present your Certificate of Eligibility at the Japanese Embassy or Consular Office
Foreigners who have passed the screening will apply for a visa at the Japanese Embassy or Consular Office abroad. A Certificate of Eligibility must be presented at the time of application.
*Embassies and consulates abroad are Japanese embassies, consulates general, and consular offices in various countries and regions.
Holding a “Certificate of Eligibility” at the time of landing in Japan
When entering Japan, “visa issuance” and “landing examination” will proceed smoothly if you have a “Certificate of Eligibility” in your possession. If you have a Certificate of Eligibility, the process will go more smoothly.
If there are no problems in Step 3, you will be admitted to Japan and become a resident.

Application when already residing in Japan as an advanced human resource

Foreigners and high-level foreign human resources already residing in Japan should apply for “Change of Status of Residence” and “Extension of Period of Stay” respectively.

Flow of Application for Change of Status of Residence and Extension of Period of Stay

Step 1: Apply at the regional immigration office.
Application for Change of Status of Residence and Extension of Period of Stay
Submit the “point calculation table” and “materials to substantiate the points” that correspond to the content of your planned activities.
Step 2: Review by the Immigration and Naturalization Service
The Immigration and Refugee Recognition Agency will conduct a “review of the applicability of advanced human resources, etc.” for applications in “Step 1. The Immigration and Naturalization Service will conduct a “Step 1” examination of the application.

Key points of the examination: The planned activities fall under the category of “highly skilled foreign human resources”, the applicant must have achieved 70 points or more in the point calculation, and there must be no problem with the status of residence.
Result of the examination
Fat
 If you meet the requirements listed in the “Examination Points” section, your application for “Change of Status of Residence” or “Extension of Period of Stay” will be approved.
x If you do not meet the requirements listed in the examination points, your application will be denied because you did not pass the examination.

* Even if the “Application for Permission to Change Status of Residence” is not approved, you can continue to stay in the relevant status of residence if the period of stay in the current status of residence remains.

Step 3: Issuance of Certificate of Eligibility
If there are no problems in Step 2, you will be allowed to stay in Japan as an “advanced professional 1” or “advanced professional 2” without any problems.

Application documents for advanced human resources

The documents required for each application can be found on the website of the Immigration and Residence Management Agency, as shown below.

(1) Highly-skilled personnel residing in Japan as “highly-specialized personnel” and their related parties

  1. Highly-skilled foreign human resources (related to “highly-skilled professional 1”)
    Application for issuance of a certificate of eligibility
    Application for permission to change status of residence
    Extension of period of stay Application for permission
  2. Highly skilled foreign human resources (related to “highly skilled professional 2”)
    – Application for permission to change status of residence
  3. Spouse of highly skilled foreign human resources working
    – Application for Certificate of Eligibility
    – Application for Change of Status of Residence
    – Application for Extension of Period of Stay
  4. Domestic servant for highly skilled foreign human resources
    – Application for Certificate of Eligibility (Immigration Status Type )
    – Application for Certificate of Eligibility (Domestic Status Type )
    – Application for change of status of residence (family circumstance type )
    – Application for extension of period of stay (common to both entry accompany type and family circumstance type)
  5. Parents of an advanced foreign human resources worker or his/her spouse who wish to provide necessary support such as raising a child under seven years of age of the advanced foreign human resources worker or his/her spouse, or assisting a pregnant spouse of an advanced foreign human resources worker or a pregnant advanced foreign human resources worker.
    – Application for a Certificate of Eligibility
    – Application for permission to change status of residence
    – Application for permission to extend period of stay

(2) Related parties of high-level foreign human resources residing in Japan on “specified activities”.

  1. Dependent spouse or child of an advanced foreign human resource
    – Application for Certificate of Eligibility
    – Application for Change of Status of Residence
    – Extension of Period of Stay Application for permission
  2. Spouse of highly skilled foreign human resources working
    – Application for Certificate of Eligibility
    – Application for Change of Status of Residence
    – Application for Extension of Period of Stay
  3. Domestic servant for highly skilled foreign human resources
    – Application for Certificate of Eligibility (Immigration Status Type )
    – Application for Certificate of Eligibility (Domestic Status Type )
    – Application for change of status of residence (family circumstance type )
    – Application for extension of period of stay (common to both entry accompany type and family circumstance type)
  4. Parents of an advanced foreign human resources worker or his/her spouse who wish to provide necessary support such as raising a child under seven years of age of the advanced foreign human resources worker or his/her spouse, or assisting a pregnant spouse of an advanced foreign human resources worker or a pregnant advanced foreign human resources worker.
    – Application for issuance of a Certificate of Eligibility
    – Application for permission to change status of residence
    – Application for permission to extend period of stay

Source: Preferential system for immigration and residency management based on advanced human resources point system, Immigration and Residence Management Agency, http://www.moj.go.jp/isa/publications/materials/newimmiact_3_procedure_index.html

Let’s promote the use of advanced human resources by following the application process.

The application procedures for high-level foreign human resources (high-level professionals) differ in terms of flow and required documents for “before entering Japan” and “during residence. In either case, the information should be kept in mind by the foreigner/applicant who is applying. It may seem difficult at first glance, but if you follow the steps step by step, you will be able to handle it without any problems. If you are involved in the hiring of foreign nationals, it is important to have a basic understanding of the process, as there may be situations in the future where you need to be involved. Grasping the application process will make it easier to utilize highly skilled foreign human resources.

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