JAPAN: Potential Relaxation of Permanent Residency Rules

The Japanese Government is considering shortening the time requirement for highly skilled foreign professionals to apply for permanent residency.

With a greying society contributing to a shrinking workforce, this step is considered as critical to help lure more global talent to Japan.

A new system for the issuance of green cards is due to be introduced in April 2017 and will see the qualifying period for green cards reduced.  Once introduced, highly skilled foreign professionals holding valid visas and residing and working in Japan may be eligible to apply for a green card after 1-2 years, down from 5-6 years previously, provided the applicant meets specified qualification norms.

A Justice Ministry official said the government aims to boost economic growth by actively accepting more highly skilled foreign specialists.

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