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Japan’s Highly Skilled Professional VISA explained

Some people who is working as professional might heard about HSP VISA, Highly Skilled Professional VISA. This VISA is so unique since HSP VISA holders are allowed to do what other types of VISA holders are not allowed and could get the possibility to apply for Permanent Residency earlier. This is the reason why professionals who is working in Japan and have living basis in Japan has strong interest on getting HSP VISA.

It is also better for you to understand merits for HSP VISA holders other than PR since that give you so much flexibility for your career in Japan. If you are working VISA holders in Japan, you could only engage in activity which is designated for you VISA status. You can’t manage your company while you are working as Engineer with Engineer VISA. But That is not the case for HSP VISA holders.

In this article, I’ll explain fundamental points of HSP.

1. Category of HSP VISA

HSP VISA has three categories from researchers to managers. Here are categories for HSP VISA.

a.Advanced academic research activities

「Highly-Skilled Professional(i)(a)」

Activities of engaging in research, research guidance or education based on a contract entered into with a public or private organization in Japan. 高度学術研究


Advanced specialized/technical activities

「Highly-Skilled Professional(i)(b)」

b. Activities of engaging in work requiring specialized knowledge or skills in the field of natural sciences or humanities based on a contract entered into with a public or private organization in Japan.

c. Advanced business management activities

「Highly-Skilled Professional(i)(c)」

Activities of engaging in the operation or management of a public or private organization in Japan.

2. You need to get 70 points based on point sheet for HSP

You might hear this is the point-based system and you need to get 70 points based on the point-based system. It is true that there is point-based system and you are required to get 70 points.

So how you could find whether you have 70 points or not? the Ministry of justice published point-calculation sheet for Highly Skilled Professionals. You need to check how much points you have through this process. When you calculate the point, please check the following matters about you.

a. Educational background

b. Working history

c. Annual income

d. Age

e. Research achievement

f. License

After checking these points and find out how much point you could get by each category, you have to calculate gross points. If the total point is 70 or more than 70 point, you meet the condition for requirements.

3. Unique feature for HSP VISA

Except for Permanent Residents, Long term residents and Spouse VISA holders, you could just engage in activity which is designated for your VISA status. If you have Engineer VISA, you could just work as an engineer. So even this is relevant to IT industry, you can’t run your company as President or CEO while you get Business Manager VISA.

But there are the growing demands for allowing starting business while keeping employment for VISA sponsor since the global society is more likely to have positive view for multiple working after some critics promote parallel career. Current VISA regulation close door for such demands and undermine motivation of engineers and professionals

HSP VISA opened such demands so that they could use their expertise in Japan. This VISA allow the holders to engage in running business which is relevant to their main activities in Japan.

For example, Please imagine you get HSP VISA for advanced research activities. If you just had researcher VISA, you could just engage in your job as researchers. When you came up with idea of new business in which your academic finding on research is key to develop the service, you can’t start this business until you are permitted to change your VISA status into Business Manager VISA.

But if you are HSP VISA holders, you don’t have to apply for VISA change unless you also continue to work for research activities for the organizations which sponsor your VISA. HSP VISA holders are allowed to engage in multiple activities unless these activities are relevant to activities for the organizations which sponsor your VISA.

There are also other merits for HSP VISA holders, I recommend you to check if you have the chance to apply for HSP VISA.

Daichi Ito

Immigration Law Practitioner (Gyoseishoshi)






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