How to acquire a “highly skilled professional” visa in Japan – Vol.1

Where I’m from – Malaysia, when there’s talk about certification, it usually revolves around finance related professionals. This may have changed lately considering the information technology industry is growing day by day and of course depending on the circle you’re in.

In recent years, I have been considering pursuing a “highly skilled professionals” visa in Japan, which is one of the ways that can help in getting a permanent residency in Japan. With 70 points from a “highly skilled professionals” visa, it is possible to apply for permanent residency after 3 years living in Japan. And it can be shortened to 1 year with 80 points.

Something many people may not pay close enough attention to in the calculation of point-system visa is the work experience. Everything on the point calculation sheet requires some sort of proof. Your work experience in a foreign country doesn’t count unless you’re able to get your former employers to provide some papers to prove that you have worked there and for how long. In Japan, certificates of employment (not employment offer letters) aren’t rare.

Now, getting into the main topic of this article, one of the easier ways to edge out a few more points to reach the minimum point requirement for a “highly skilled professionals” visa in a relatively short period of time is professional certification as you’ll be getting a certificate when you complete them and most examinations are held twice a year.

How is professional certification like in Japan?

First, certification isn’t a rare topic among the Japanese people, although the most popular is probably English language related, many non-financial related positions also require certain certification, and it almost works like a license. It ranges from storage organization advisor, parking inspector to certified tax accountants and real estate appraisers to bring up some examples. Two biggest categories of all these certifications are private non-governmental and governmental certifications.

Integrity is regarded as one of the most important elements of any exam anywhere, and more so in Japan. In January 2022, a high school student who voluntarily turned in to police admitting being involved in leaking university entrance exam questions. As a result, certification is highly trusted by Japanese society, especially those managed by government and relevant agencies.

In Vol.2, I will explain the details of certification and its difficulty.
Tips will also be included, so don’t miss it!

Joseph Ting