In the latest attempt to stimulate its dismal, deteriorating demographics, on Friday the Japanese government decided to update immigration rules in hopes of luring world-class talent, including slashing the wait for high-earning professionals to obtain permanent residency.
Like many Western nations, Japan currently grants visas to highly skilled professionals under a point-based system, accounting for factors like academic history, work experience and research achievements. Those in this category can obtain permanent residency after up to three years instead of the typical 10. But the update, which the government hopes to implement in April, will shorten the period to one year for researchers and engineers who make at least 20 million yen ($149,000) annually – hardly an egregious amount – and have either a graduate degree or at least 10 years of work experience. The reduced time frame also applies to business managers who make at least 40 million yen and have at least five years of experience.
These professionals will be able to bring two foreign domestic workers into Japan instead of the current one. Their spouses will be able to work full-time in a wider variety of fields. Additionally, the planned update will also allow elite university graduates from around the world to stay in Japan for two years to look for work. Currently, they have 90 days. The scheme will apply to those who, within the last five years, graduated from a university in at least two of three top-100 rankings created by British and Chinese entities. They will be able to bring their families along as well.