Specified Skills

Effective April 2019, the new specified skills visa will be implemented in Japan as a solution to the ongoing workforce crisis. That implies that there will be a significant increase in demand for foreign workers approximately to 345,150 from April 2019 up to the year 2024. This means that the new specified skills visa will greatly impact the company/ business production with their financial growth. On the other hand, this also means more chances of employment for foreign skilled workers and professionals who want to work in Japan.

The skill level and the Japanese language skill level will be tested based on the standards that the industry group of each job type requires from the country. The level of Japanese language proficiency is determined by the Japanese language proficiency test, the Japanese language proficiency test, and the Japanese-language nursing care evaluation test (Nursing care only). The standard of Japanese language proficiency is, in principle, N4 of the Japanese Language Proficiency Test.

Those who successfully complete Technical Intern Training No. 2 will be exempted from examinations related to Japanese language ability and technical level required to obtain the status of residence.
In addition, a person who entered Japan as a candidate for an EPA certified care worker and has been appropriately engaged in employment and training as a candidate for an EPA certified care worker for four years will also be exempted from a skill test and a Japanese language test, etc., as long as they meet the required skill level and Japanese language proficiency level.

Specified Skills No. 1 Visa

・You must have a certain level of industry-specific skills. This is in addition to the Japanese language requirement to apply for this visa status.
・You are not permitted to bring your family with you.
・You can stay in Japan for a maximum of five years under the “Specified Skills No. 1” visa status.
・It’s possible to switch to the “Specified Skills No. 2” visa from the Specified Skills No. 1 visa, if you have obtained a higher level of specialization during your stay in Japan.
・It’s possible to switch to from the Technical Intern Training visa status to the Specified Skills No. 1 visa if you meet all the eligibility requirements.

Specified Skills No. 2 Visa

・You must have an additional level of specialization. Workers staying in Japan on the “Specified Skills No. 1” visa can apply for the “Specified Skills No. 2” visa if they attain higher level specialization in their field.
・Indefinite length of stay in Japan possible. This is a significant difference from the “Specified Skills No. 1” visa. In principle, workers staying in Japan on the “Specified Skills No. 2” visa may be able to continuously renew their visa status, essentially giving them a way to stay in Japan indefinitely.
・You are able to bring your family with you. The “Specified Skills No. 2” visa status allows workers to bring family members with them to Japan.

Which industries qualify

Specified Skills
There are fourteen industries that qualify to accept workers under the new residency visas:
1.Nursing care
2.Building cleaning
3.Agriculture
4.Fishing industry
5.Food & drink manufacturing (including seafood processing)
6.Restaurant (food and drink service)
7.Materials industry
8.Industrial machinery industry
9.Electronics and electrical equipment industry
10.Construction
11.Ship building/Marine industry
12.Car maintenance
13.Aviation (Airport ground handling, aircraft maintenance
14.Accommodation industry

One of the key requirements to apply for the new visa is conversational-level Japanese. Up to now, the standard for assessing Japanese proficiency has been the Japanese Language Proficiency Test.
Under both new visa statuses (Specified Skills No. 1 and Specified Skills No. 2), workers have to have a minimum level of Japanese language proficiency equivalent to “N4” on the Japanese Language Proficiency Test. Some industries may set different (higher) requirements. Workers who have completed three years of practical training would be exempt from the Japanese proficiency exam.
The Japanese government has established a new Japanese exam, the Japan Foundation Japanese Basic Test to test for language proficiency.

Learn Japanese Now!

Learning the Japanese language is indeed important.
1. You will be working in a Japanese speaking environment where the majority of the Japanese people do not speak your native language nor English.
2. Collaboration with co-workers is impossible if lacking in communication particularly those highly skilled people like engineers.
3. It is unlikely to understand the culture without knowing the language. So, culture and language are always connected.
4. One of the most important requirements when getting a specific skills visa(JLPT N4).

Japanese language proficiency test

Japanese language proficiency levels must pass the Japan Foundation Basic Tests for Japanese Language Foundation or the Japanese Language Proficiency Test (N4 or higher).

  • Japan Foundation Test for Basic Japanese
    The Japan Foundation Test for Basic Japanese is a test that the Japan Foundation develops and conducts to determine the basic level of Japanese language ability required for acceptance as a Specific Skill No. 1. Those who pass this exam will be evaluated as having a basic level of Japanese language proficiency, as they will be able to speak everyday to some extent and be recognized as having the level of ability to live without any problems.
  • Test result notification
    On the test day: The overall score and the judgment result are displayed on the screen at the end of the test.
    Within 2 weeks after taking the exam: You will receive a formal result notification form (PDF with face photo) by email.

Skill evaluation test


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