Hello. I'm Hong from IMS Legal Professional Corporation. From late March 2024, it seems that amendments to the laws will be implemented, and Japan will finally begin issuing the "Digital Nomad" visa. Part of the "Designated Activities" notification will be revised, and those eligible will be granted the "Specified Activities" visa. It will be applicable to nationals of countries or regions with tax treaties and visa exemption agreements, allowing them to stay for up to six months. While there are still some uncertainties regarding who falls under the category of eligible individuals and whether staying for "six months" within a year allows for unrestricted annual stays, I look forward to monitoring future guidance from the Immigration Services Agency. You can check the outline summary here.

Now, let's talk about the much-discussed "Specified Skilled Worker (SSW)" visa and its related tasks.

To address labor shortages in 12 fields, the acceptance of foreign workers as so-called "simple laborers" has been conducted via the "Specified Skilled Worker" visa since April 2019. As of the end of June 2023, 173,101 people are residing in Japan on the "Specified Skilled Worker" visa. Among them, holders of the "Specified Skilled Worker" visa from Vietnam account for 97,490 people, making them the overwhelming majority. While there are 12 acceptance fields, each field has designated business categories, occupations, and tasks that can be performed, so not everyone can do any job.

"Business Categories and Tasks by Field"

About Business Categories

As shown in the figure above, the fields are divided into [1 Business Category], [2 Business Category], [3 Business Category], and [6 Business Category]. The numbers indicate the number of business categories, and it means that without passing the skills assessment test for each business category, other tasks cannot be performed.

In the construction field, it is divided into [3 Business Category], and there are three business categories [Civil Engineering], [Architecture], and [Lifeline & Facilities] (reorganized from the previous 19 business categories). For example, if someone who was engaged in civil engineering work wants to work in the field of architecture, they need to pass the skills assessment test for the [Architecture] business category.

In the food service field, it is [1 Business Category], which is [General Food Service (food preparation, customer service, store management)]. In this case, once you pass the skills assessment test, you can perform one or more of the tasks such as cooking, customer service, or store management.

Main Business Contents

Furthermore, the main tasks that can be performed for each business category are specified, and as mentioned before, not all types of work are allowed. For example, in the accommodation field, it is [1 Business Category], and the main task is [providing accommodation services such as front desk, planning and public relations, and restaurant services at inns and hotels], and room cleaning in hotels is not specified (although specialized room cleaning is not allowed, it may be permitted as an incidental task). ※ Room cleaning tasks fall under the "Building Cleaning Field".

You can check the job descriptions for each field on the Immigration Services Agency's website:
Job Descriptions for Each Field of Specified Skilled Worker No. 1
Job Descriptions for Each Field of Specified Skilled Worker No. 2
※Automatic translation available

The "Specified Skilled Worker" visa does not require academic qualifications or practical experience required for other work visas, but you must pass the Japanese language proficiency test and skills assessment test※. Additionally, when applying for a "Specified Skilled Worker" visa, there are various conditions not only for the applicant but also for the accepting organization, such as the need to entrust a registered support organization or join a council, making the application process quite complex.

※ Those who have successfully completed "Technical Intern Training No. 2" are exempted from the Japanese language test regardless of the type of technical intern training occupation or task. Furthermore, if there is relevance between the tasks to be engaged in under the "Specified Skilled Worker" visa and the occupations or tasks of Technical Intern Training No. 2, the skills test will also be exempted.

Foreigners and companies struggling with "Specified Skilled Worker" visa applications, please feel free to contact us.

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