Published On: Sat, Nov 19th, 2016

Japan to fast-track permanent residency for highly skilled individuals

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TOKYO — Japan is planning to allow foreigners with advanced expertise to apply for permanent resident status after living in the country for only a year, compared with five years currently, government sources said Saturday.

The government hopes to put the change into practice as early as in fiscal 2017 starting in April of that year, they said.

Japan plans to reduce the requisite period for permanent residency to secure individuals with high technical or managerial expertise, they said. The government’s growth strategy package compiled in June floated the idea of creating a “Japanese greed card” for such individuals.

Currently, foreigners granted “highly skilled professional” visas may apply for permanent residency after living in Japan for five years. The government envisions shortening that period to three years, but it would be reduced to one year for individuals with advanced expertise, the sources said.

The government plans to revise ordinances and guidelines by the end of the current fiscal year after consultations with ruling parties, they said.

There were 2,688 people living in Japan on highly skilled professional visas as of the end of June, with 65 percent from China and 5 percent each from India and the United States.

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