Nippon Assist - Move to Japan

Japan is set to introduce a groundbreaking visa status aimed at facilitating the residence of IT engineers and professionals from overseas companies in the country, announced the Immigration Services Agency on Friday. The proposed visa will grant highly skilled workers the opportunity to engage in teleworking in Japan for up to six months, with the added benefit of enjoying sightseeing trips during their stay.

This initiative is strategically designed to attract a diverse range of individuals, including digital nomads who have the flexibility to work from anywhere. The plan is to draw in workers and consultants from overseas, as well as content creators such as YouTubers who earn advertising fees from international companies.

To further refine the program, the Immigration Services Agency will be seeking public opinions starting Saturday, with the aim of launching the new visa status at the end of March. This move signifies a significant departure from the existing visa statuses, typically used by tourists, which do not permit work and have a maximum stay limit of just 90 days.

To be eligible for the new visa status, applicants must meet certain criteria, including having an annual income equivalent to 10 million yen ($68,000), citizenship in one of the 50 countries and regions with visa waiver agreements with Japan, and the possession of private health insurance. Self-employed individuals can qualify if their business generates revenue from overseas, and they can also bring family members who are covered by private health insurance.

The introduction of this visa aligns with the global rise of telework, which has become increasingly prevalent since the outbreak of COVID-19. Currently, there are approximately 35 million digital nomads worldwide, and this number is expected to grow.

Drawing parallels with Thailand’s SMART Visa program, Japan seems to be following suit in attracting skilled talent. Thailand’s program is designed to lure science and technology experts, senior executives, investors, and startup entrepreneurs to contribute to the growth of specific targeted industries.

The SMART Visa program in Thailand includes targeted industries such as Next-Generation Automotive, Smart Electronics, Medical and Wellness Tourism, Agriculture and Biotechnology, and more. The benefits offered to SMART Visa holders include a maximum 4-year permission to stay, one-year check-ins at immigration (instead of ninety days), work eligibility for spouses and children without the need for work permits, and no re-entry permits.

As Japan embarks on this innovative visa initiative, it remains to be seen how it will shape up in comparison to the Thai model. With the rise of telework and the growing number of digital nomads, this move by Japan could potentially redefine the landscape of international work and travel. What are your thoughts on Japan’s new visa initiative? Join the conversation and share your opinions on the potential impact of this development.