Working visas in Japan in detail. | Tokyoimmigration service

I want to invite a foreign national to Japan

By 管理者 on — 4 mins read


If you wish to invite a foreign national to work in Japan, then that person will need to apply for a visa. There are 5 types of work visas available, and for each one, it is important that there is a continuous and stable contract with a particular company


The 6 types of Status of Residence for work visas are:

  1. Engineer/Technical Expert /Specialist in Humanities/International -Services
  2. Business Manager
  3. Intra-company Transferee
  4. Skilled Labour
  5. Designated Activities No. 46 visa
  6. “other”

A category system for businesses to employ was introduced in 2009, and the assessment duration gap between small companies and large companies widened. Small to middle size companies, that fit into category 3 and 4, need to wait 3 to 4 months to invite foreign workers.  For more details about these categories, refer to the list at the end of this page.

If your prospective employee is to be approved as a Highly Skilled Foreign Professional No.1, the person would be assessed preferentially. Please refer to the page, “I want to be assessed as a Highly Skilled Foreign Professional” for more details.
Points-Based Preferential Immigration Treatment for Highly Skilled Foreign Professionals began in 2012. From 1st of April 2015, it became a type of visa. If your employee applies to be assessed as a Highly Skilled Professionals (HSP) from now on, the person will be recognised as HSP No.1 with preferential treatment and then if the person hold this visa for 3 years, the person can apply for HSP No.2 that lets the person stay in Japan indefinitely, as long as that person works for the same employer
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The details of the 5 types of work visas

Engineer/Technical Expert /Specialist in Humanities/International -Services

This is a visa for people who engage in work requiring a high degree of knowledge and technological ability; for example, a mechanical engineer, a computer engineer, a systems engineer, an engineer for resource(s) development, a designing engineer of an automobile, a technical expert in agriculture, an aero-space engineer, or an engineer in the nuclear industry.
This visa also applies to people who engage in work that requires specialist knowledge in fields of humanities such as law, economy, and social science. The typical jobs are in trade, translation, interpreting, designing, public relations, advertising, or a trader and dealer in the financial industry.
In 2015, two types of work visas were amalgamated into one because of the increased number of cases disputing whether a particular job required a scientific background or a non-scientific background.
Foreign nationals who have obtained this visa can apply to be assessed as a Highly Skilled Foreign Professional, if they pass the point test.

Business Manager

This is a visa for people who are to act as president, an executive or a manager of a company or a factory in Japan, or for people who want to start their own business in Japan.
Foreign nationals who have obtained this visa can apply to be assessed as a Highly Skilled Foreign Professional, if they pass the point test.

Intra-company Transferee

This is a visa for personnel who are transferred from a foreign office to Japanese office who engage in work that is specified as Engineer or Humanities/International Services. This usually applies to a situation where a Japanese company that holds the majority of its stock and management rights wants to transfer a staff member who is a foreign national from an overseas office.

Skilled Labor

This is a visa for personnel who engage in work that requires industrial techniques or skills and experience, such as a cook, sommelier, pilot, technician for overseas architectural or civil engineering works, animal trainer or jewellery appraiser. If the would-be employee is a cook, he or she needs a good working history.
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Designated Activities No. 46 visa

A new type of status of residence (visa) called Designated Activities No. 46 was started on May 30, 2019 for foreign students who graduated from a Japanese four-year university or graduate school.

If you use Japanese language at your work, you can work as a full-time employee.

For example, the following works that have not been accepted for “Engineer/Humanities/International Services” visa are possible.

  • Customer Service at a Mobile phone shop.
  • Customer Service at a Convenience store.
  • Restaurant hall attendant.
  • Assembly work by a team, including Japanese members, in the manufacturing industry.
  • Working as a taxi driver as well as an interpreter at a taxi company.
  • Work at a Day care center where a person has to communicate with regular visitors by using Japanese language skills.

A wide range of job types are available. In this way, the expansion of work areas for foreign students has created opportunities for employment at various companies. The difference from “Specified Skilled No.1” is that there is no designation of the type of industry and job type, and the degree of freedom is very large.

However, it is not allowed to engage in work that is only “Unskilled Labor”. This has to be taken care of.

Other types of work visas

For information about other visas (Status of Residence), please have a look into the Appended Table 1 for other visas (Status of Residence). This reference is not yet updated for the new change in 2015 at the time of this web page revision.

See a separate article for “Specified Skilled” visa that began on April 1, 2019

Please note that unskilled labour by foreigners is not permitted in Japan. We can give you advice when your visa application is rejected because your work at the company in Japan is judged as unskilled labour.