The Japanese government is to ease criteria to attract more skilled workers to the country, after the previous system failed drastically to achieve the desired results since being introduced in May 2012.
Last year, Japan introduced a points-based immigration system for foreigners working in three highly skilled professions—academic researchers, engineers and corporate managers. Points were awarded on a number of factors including annual income, academic career and employment history, with those who obtained at least 70 points being recognised as “highly skilled professionals.”
However, between May 2012 and April 2013, just 17 people used the system, leading many foreigners to complain that the requirements are too strict.
Next month, the Japanese government will revise the system next month before putting the revised system into effect from December.
A number of changes are slated to be made to the current system. For starters, the minimum level of annual income required for academic researchers, which is currently set at between ¥3.4 million and ¥6 million (approximately £21,820 and £38,513) depending on age, will be removed.
Other proposed revisions include raising the evaluation points of Japanese language skills from 10 points to 15 points, while those who have professional degrees, such as an MBA, will be given an additional five points, while the range of applicants eligible to apply under the system will be widened.
There could also be changes made to the time a foreigner must live in the country to apply for permanent residence status. Currently, overseas national must reside in Japan for five continuous years before they can apply for residency. The government is now considering making this period of stay three years, providing that applicants are working in Japan as highly skilled professionals.