Working Visa Application Services in Japan

visa-application-2The biggest issue when hiring a foreign national as an employee in Japan is obtaining what is called a “status of residence”. The terms “visa” and “status of residence” differ from one another. A status of residence, which is a procedure carried out on the Japanese side, is the domain of professionals with specialized knowledge and experience. There are some companies that let their employees do their own procedures for obtaining a status of residence, but the laws regarding status of residence are very complicated. Therefore, companies tend to use professionals to help assist them in this area to mitigate risks and to assure all compliance measures have been met.

What are the procedures I need to follow when hiring a foreign national in Japan?

The procedures for hiring a foreign national in Japan differ greatly depending on where the prospective employee is residing. Since the main procedures are to be completed in Japan, the process starts with meeting a local expert who is familiar with the “Immigration Control and Refugee Recognition Act” and other related laws and regulations.

The procedures can be categorized according to two main patterns

  1. Hiring a foreign national living abroad
  2. Hiring a foreign national who is already living in Japan

Hiring a foreign national living abroad

  • 【STEP 1】 Employment contract, outsourcing contract and other labor-related contracts (client)

    The foreign national and the Japanese company conclude a labor contract. If a foreign national is transferred from a foreign company to a Japanese company for a fixed period of time (intra-company transfer), the labor contract with the foreign company can be considered a contract with the Japanese company.

  • 【STEP 2】 Assessment of whether the foreign employee can obtain a visa (our company)

    After checking the proscpect’s resumes, working conditions, and the nature of their work at your company, we will assess whether they can obtain a visa and provide advice accordingly. We will also advise you on a more suitable “status of residence” depending on the start date of employment and look into the possibility for permanent residence.

  • 【STEP 3】 Guidance on preparing necessary documents for the application (our company)

    We will guide you through the preparation sequence and list the necessary documents according to each individual. We will also prepare documents such as a “statement of reasons” which is required to submit to the Immigration and Naturalization Service for them to understand the full picture. We will prepare an accurate application form to avoid false applications.

  • 【STEP 4】 Apply for a Certificate of Eligibility (COE) at the immigration bureau in Japan (through our company)

    We will submit the application documents to the immigration bureau of your jurisdiction. We will also handle any questions or additional documents from the immigration bureau during the examination.

  • 【STEP 5】 Apply for the visa at a Japanese embassy/consulate abroad (foreign employee)

    Apply for the visa at the Japanese embassy/consulate where the Certificate of Eligibility (COE) has jurisdiction over the place of residence.

  • 【STEP 6】 Entry into Japan / Issuance of residence card at the airport (foreign employee)

    Enter Japan with a Certificate of Eligibility (COE) after a visa is issued. After receiving the residence card at the airport, notify the municipal office within 14 days of finding a place to live.

Hiring a foreign national who is already living in Japan

  • 【STEP 1】 Employment contract, outsourcing contract and other labor-related contracts (client)

    The foreign national and the Japanese company conclude a labor contract.

  • 【STEP 2】 Assessment of whether the foreign employee can obtain a visa (our company)

    After checking the prospect’s resumes, working conditions, and the nature of their work at your company, we will assess whether they can obtain a visa and provide advice accordingly. We will also advise you on a more suitable “status of residence” depending on the start date of employment and look into the possibility for permanent residence.

  • 【STEP 3】 Guidance on preparing necessary documents for the application (our company)

    We will guide you through the preparation sequence and list the necessary documents according to each individual. We will also prepare documents such as a “statement of reasons” which is required to submit to the Immigration and Naturalization Service for them to understand the full picture. We will prepare an accurate application form to avoid false applications.

  • 【STEP 4】 Apply for “change of status of residence/extension of period of stay” at the immigration bureau in Japan (our company)

    We will submit the application documents to the immigration bureau of your jurisdiction. We will also handle any questions or additional documents from the immigration bureau during the examination.

  • 【STEP 5】 Receive your new resident card at the immigration office in Japan (through our company)

    After the examination is successfully completed, you will receive your new resident card at the immigration bureau.

[Types of status of residence for which foreign employees are eligible]

visa-passport

Engineer/Specialist in Humanities and International Services
Status of Residence

(e.g.) Software engineer / Project management / Overseas business transaction / Translation / Interpretation, etc.

Intra-company transferee

Status of residence for those who are transferring from a foreign affiliated company overseas with which they have a head office/branch office relationship or a parent-child relationship.
(e.g.) Able to perform work equivalent to technical, humanities, or international services.

Business Manager

Status of residence mainly for executives and managers above a certain scale.
Example: Representative Director/Director/Auditor/Plant Manager/Manager

Highly Skilled Professional

A status of residence granted to those who have passed a certain number of points set by the Ministry of Justice in the above categories.
Example: A status of residence granted to those who meet the requirements for technology, humanities, international services, intra-company transfer, business administration, etc., and have more than the points set by the Ministry of Justice in terms of educational background and work experience. Compared to other statuses of residence, there are preferential treatments, and the examination period is shorter.

Why choose Shiodome Partners?

There are very few firms in Japan, or possibly in the world that can provide multilingual services in English/ Chinese/ Korean/ Japanese and provide one-stop services for residency (administrative scrivener), labor (labor and social security attorney), tax (certified tax accountant), and company establishment (judicial scrivener). We are one of the few firms in the entire world that has the resources to handle most client queries.

Shiodome Partners can provide a one-stop solution for clients who are planning to expand their business in Japan. Many clients have trouble finding a company formation specialist, a residence status specialist, a labor specialist, and a tax specialist all in one place. These specialists are usual spread apart from each other, hence making those back and forth e-mails a hassle when you have to deal with 3 different companies. Our firm eliminates those hassles by sharing the client’s case with each department, ensuring that we are all on the same page giving you a smooth transition to Japan.

Regarding status of residence, we can provide a wide range of expertise, from major working visas such as technical, humanities, international services, and high-level professionals, to applications for permanent residence permits, spouses of Japanese nationals, spouses of permanent residents, and permanent residents, as well as residency status for interns, trainees, and professional athletes. We can also handle a wide range of other visa related matters.

We are also able to provide professional services in obtaining the necessary permits and licenses when starting a business, such as fee-charging employment agencies to earn commissions by introducing human resources, construction license to operate a construction business, real estate license to conduct real estate transactions, and temporary staffing license to earn profits by dispatching human resources.

Common Questions:

Q: I would like to invite a foreigner from overseas to work as an intern.

A: Interns are categorized as free interns or paid interns. Non-paid interns who plan to work for 90 days or less can apply for “Temporary Visitor” status, while those who plan to work for more than 90 days can apply for “Cultural Activities” status. Paid interns are eligible for the “Specially Designated Activities” status of residence, which is intended for certain university students.

Q: What should foreign employees pay attention to under the Immigration Control Act?

A: For example, if a foreign employee changes their address, they are obligated to report the change within 14 days from when they moved. If one fails to do so, they will be penalized. Also, when a company relocates its head office or changes its trade name, the foreign employee would need to submit the required notification at the Immigration Bureau.

Q: Is there a problem with changing the job description of an employee I hired?

A: The status of residence that a foreign employee has acquired has a set scope of activities, and activities within that scope are permitted. For example, if a person who has been working as a construction manager at a construction company changes to a job that mainly involves on-site work, it could be considered a problem. In some cases, this may be a violation of activities outside the scope of employment, and the company may be punished for encouraging illegal employment.

For other Q&A, please refer here.