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Breaking News: All Specified Skilled Worker Visa Holder Now Can Stay in Japan Indefinitely

更新日:2023年10月22日



In a significant move to address its evolving labor needs, Japan is taking strides toward a brighter future with the proposed expansion of its Specified Skilled Worker Program. Recently, Japan plans to expand the scope of the Specified Skilled Worker visa. Let’s dig into the details of this proposed expansion and explore its potential for shaping a prosperous future for Japan and its global partners.


What is a Specified Skilled Worker Visa?

Japan has been struggling with low birth rates and, consequently, fewer young workforces. Blue-collar jobs are significantly affected due to their physical activities. Japan introduced the SSW visa in 2019 to allow more foreign residents to work in Japan.


The Specified Skilled Worker (SSW) visa in Japan is divided into two main types, each with its own specific requirements and qualifications. These types are:


  • Specified Skilled Worker Type 1 (SSW Type 1)

This category is designed for individuals with certain skills and experience in specific industries facing labor shortages in Japan. The SSW Type 1 visa allows foreign workers to engage in jobs requiring high skills and expertise. There are 12 industries covered under SSW Type 1, including nursing care, construction, shipbuilding, automobile maintenance, aviation, agriculture, and others.


  • Specified Skilled Worker Type 2 (SSW Type 2)

This category is designed for individuals who have acquired specific skills through on-the-job training in Japan. The SSW Type 2 visa allows foreign workers to engage in jobs requiring specific technical skills and experience but at a level that does not require the same expertise as SSW Type 1. Until the first half of 2023, only 2 industries were covered by SSW Type 2. They are the construction industry and shipbuilding and ship machinery industries.


The primary distinction between SSW Type 1 and Type 2 lies in the benefits they offer, including the duration of stay in Japan and the possibility of bringing family members along.

Despite the additional benefits of the SSW Type 2 visa, obtaining it is challenging. The language and technical skills examination is much more complex than for SSW Type 1 visa. Moreover, the visa is only available to workers in two specific industries, resulting in a significant disparity in the number of visa holders. According to data from the Immigration Services Agency of Japan, as of March 2023, there are approximately 150,000 SSW Type 1 visa holders. In contrast, the number of SSW Type 2 visa holders is as low as 11.


Japan is Planning to Get More SSW Type 2 Visa Holders

Great news broke in June 2023 that the Japanese government proposed changing the SSW Type 2 Visa. Facing a severe labor shortage, the Japanese government has recognized the need to widen the scope of the SSW Type 2 Visa. This change is supported by companies that employ SSW Type 1 workers because they can keep competent employees longer than a 5-year-contract.


The Japanese government has proposed the addition of 9 more industries to its eligibility list. These industries include building cleaning management, industrial machinery manufacturing, automobile maintenance, aviation, agriculture, fisheries, food and beverages manufacturing, food service, and lodging.


With this expansion, individuals working in 11 industries can transition to the SSW Type 2 Visa and fulfill their dreams of living and working indefinitely in Japan with their families.


Nursing care is the only industry that didn’t included in SSW Type 2 coverage. However, nurses and caregivers have their own way of staying in Japan indefinitely. Read more about caregiver visas in Japan.


Implications and Considerations of the SSW Type 2 Expansion

As of June 2023, various Japanese news outlets have reported that the government has approved the proposed plan to expand the SSW Type 2 Visa. The approval of this proposal will provide immense relief and opportunities for current SSW Type 1 Visa holders, as they will now have a greater chance of transitioning to the Type 2 Visa.


However, it is important to note that this expansion does not guarantee an easier process. The transition requirements, including the examinations conducted in Japanese, will remain stringent, making it challenging for applicants.


Japan Visa


Moreover, it is crucial to recognize that the expansion does not automatically lead to higher salaries. Despite the hardships of transitioning to the SSW Type 2 Visa, individuals may still receive similar compensation as Type 1 Visa holders. Therefore, it is essential to weigh the long-term benefits of living and working in Japan against potential salary considerations.


For the government, the next step involves conducting industry-specific examinations for the new eligible sectors, expected to begin in the fall of this year. As for foreign nationals aspiring to live and work in Japan, particularly those in the newly added industries, it’s better to start preparing for the examinations as early as possible to increase their chances of success.

 

The proposed SSW Type 2 Visa expansion in Japan represents a significant milestone for foreign workers and their families. By including additional industries, the government aims to offer more opportunities for individuals to build a future in Japan. However, it is essential to acknowledge that the transition process will remain demanding, and salary considerations may not drastically change.


As we await further updates on the proposal, it is crucial for interested individuals to thoroughly assess the benefits and challenges of pursuing the SSW Type 2 Visa, ensuring informed decisions and realistic expectations for their future endeavors in Japan.



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