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Covid-19 travel rules in Japan

Due to the impact of the new coronavirus (COVID19), travel to and from Japan has become increasingly difficult. This article is divided into two sections, “Departing from Japan to a foreign country” and “Entering Japan from a foreign country,” with information on reference websites and the current status of travel information for foreigners. Travel Conditions for Entering Japan Due to the spread of the new coronavirus, the entry of tourists and outgoing foreign residents into the country has been restricted since mid-March, and as of July 24, 2020, those who have been in countries subject to denial of landing will not be able to enter the country unless there is a special reason. More detailed information about the countries subject to refusal of entry to Japan and more detailed information is available on the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (link below). Note that foreigners (including those from the countries and regions where the entry bans do not apply) who will arrive in Japan with a flight via any of those 146 countries or regions which are subject to denial of permission to enter, with a purpose of refueling or transit, will also be denied to enter Japan in principle. This will apply regardless of whether they have entered those countries or regions or not. Foreigners from the countries and regions, where visa restrictions (suspension of visa validity or suspension of visa exemption measures) do not apply, will also be subject to entry bans if transiting through the 146 countries or regions. Reference:Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan / Border enforcement measures to prevent the spread of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) Information is updated on a daily basis, so be sure to check the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ website every time you have to travel. Permission to re-enter Japan for foreign residents and students Restrictions on entry to Japan have reached more than 120 countries, and the period of restriction is much longer than expected due to the lack of improvement in the pandemic caused by the new coronavirus around the world. There was no guarantee that a person would be able to enter Japan, even if he or she had to return to their home country to take care of a family member who was in their home country for an emergency, or if he or she was studying in Japan and left Japan for a vacation period. However, taking this circumstance into account, the government announced that on July 29, 2020, they will consider re-entry for those with residency status. On August 29, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced that expatriates and international students with a status of residence in Japan would be allowed to re-enter the country on a conditional basis from August 5, in order to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus. Until now, foreign nationals who had departed from a country or region subject to denial of entry were, in principle, not allowed to re-enter the country. Reference:Re-entry of foreign residents / JiJi.com Translated from Japanese to English by Gtalent As stated in the above news article, the government has announced that from August 5th foreign nationals holding residence statuses, such as international students, permanent residents, long-term residents, and work visas, will be officially allowed to re-enter the country. ※Foreigners are not yet allowed to enter Japan for the purpose of tourism. There is also a wide range of residency statuses, so please make sure to check the statuses carefully. What do I need to enter Japan again? What’s the procedure? As mentioned above, the Japanese government announced on August 5 that not only Japanese people are being allowed to re-enter the country, but also foreigners with residency status. Since the number of people coming from the countries subject to refusal of entry is much higher than before, the government has begun to strengthen its quarantine measures to prevent more people from becoming infected in the country. From now on, we would like to explain the documents required to re-enter the country. Documents required for re-entry COVID-19 Test Result The prescribed format for the certificate must be completed by the local medical institution and signed or stamped by the doctor. Process and Required Documents for Re-entry Confirmation of Submission of Reentry Related Documents You can download the necessary documents for re-entry on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs website. Ministry of Foreign Affairs / Application for Confirmation of Submission of Reentry Documents Passport A valid re-entry permit (including a deemed re-entry permit) must be affixed. Resident Card (zairyu-card) It must not have expired. Pre- and Post-Reentry Procedures You must take a PCR test within 72 hours of departing from the country / region in which you are currently residing and certify that the test result is negative. You will need to receive a “Confirmation of Re-Entry Document Submission” from the diplomatic mission in your country or region. When you arrive in Japan, you must take the PCR test again, regardless of your country or region of origin. You must do self-isolation for 2 weeks. The place of isolation will be designated by the laboratory director, and you may be required to stay in the hospital or at home. Can you go abroad during corona season? There are many foreign employees and students who have to leave Japan to take care of their parents, relatives, and children, but there are many countries like Japan that prohibit or restrict the entry of people who have stayed in countries with high numbers of infected people (countries subject to refusal of entry). From now on, we are going to provide information on travel from Japan to other countries for foreigners and international students who have been planning to leave Japan or are considering leaving the country. Travel Information for Leaving Japan More and more countries are gradually easing their travel restrictions and accepting visitors from Japan. As the measures and documents required for arrival in each country differ, we would like to introduce some websites where you can check the travel situation in each country. Website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is arguably the most reliable source of information in Japan. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ website has a detailed list of entry restrictions for travelers from Japan to each country. It has a detailed list of restrictions on the entry of travelers from Japan to each country. Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan   1 user 79 pockets Border enforcement measures to prevent the spread of novel coronavirus (COVID… https://www.mofa.go.jp/ca/fna/page4e_001053.html Trip.com Trip.com is an online travel agency that provides up-to-date information on travel conditions in each country. The website provides detailed information about travelers from Japan in each country. jp.trip.com   1 user https://jp.trip.com/travel-restrictions-covid-19/ https://jp.trip.com/travel-restrictions-covid-19/ 提携ホテルは120万軒以上、200ヶ国以上を網羅。3000万件を超えるユーザーレビューで、お客様にぴったりの宿選びも簡単。航空券は5,000以上の目的地からお選びいただけます。24時間・年中無休の日本語カスタマーサポートで、お客様の旅をいつでもお手伝いいたします。 ※For countries not listed on the above two sites, please contact the embassy or consulate for details. Conclusion Currently (as of August 6, 2020), most countries are experiencing a second wave of infections. As a result, information on travel is constantly being updated. It is always a good idea to check with your home country’s embassy or other authorities for final information based on the information and websites provided in this article.

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Japanese Immigration Policy: How it Affects Foreign Workers

The new Japanese Immigration Policy, spearheaded by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in late 2018 and implemented later in April 2019, is the country’s way of addressing the depleting and aging Japanese workforce, especially in their IT industry. The current administration is looking to hire at least 345,000 foreign workers in the next 5 years. They initiated the program by creating two types of visas. The first visa is for the “low-skilled” aspirants (Specified Skills Visa-1 or SSV-1) who are allowed to work for a maximum of 5 years. The second is for the “medium-skilled” ones (Specified Skills Visa-2 or SSV-2) who can stay for 10 years, with non-stop renewable visas and even the option of applying for permanent visas after. But as of recently, only a small portion of the applicants have been granted employment by the companies, with only 30,000 estimated foreign IT workers being a part of the Japanese workforce today. What could this mean for the future of foreign IT workers? Is Japan truly ready to embrace immigrants into the workforce? And what’s the best type of visa that IT professionals can apply for to ensure employment? In this article, we’ll address all of those questions and understand how the new Japanese Immigration Policy affects foreign IT workers. Overall Response to the New Japanese Immigration Policy Although the government has good reasons to execute the Japanese Immigration Policy, it still managed to have mixed reactions from everyone, including some local leaders, traditional Japanese nationals, and foreigners seeking long-term employment in the country. Some officials were skeptical about the new program noting that previous policies with similar platforms, such as Japan’s “trainee” program, have failed due to inadequacies and proneness to abusive practices. Leaders also voiced concerns over probationary employees under the existing trainee program being forced to work excessive overtime, severely underpaid, and in some instances, having their passports embargoed by their employers. Meanwhile, traditionalists criticize the policy as an “easy” route for foreigners to take if they desire to live in the country permanently. Aside from allowing workers to be permanent residents, it also gives them the ability to naturalize their respective families. Some Japanese nationals also take issue with the ever-growing presence of foreigners in Japan. On the other hand, foreigners praise Japan for welcoming international talents and creating new programs that will benefit foreign aspirants and boost the country’s economy. IT workers are especially thrilled, as the country has tons of great opportunities for tech experts to grab. And even though some people have not yet embraced this new concept, the current regime is invested in making this vision come to fruition. Will Japan Finally Open Its Doors to Immigrants? Because of the constant skepticism towards the policy and only a small number of foreign workers have successfully applied for jobs in the country in recent months, many have wondered if Japan has genuinely opened its doors to gaijin like the thousands of aspiring IT workers. The answer is a resounding yes. Even before Prime Minister Abe lobbied for the new program, Japan saw an increase in the presence of foreigners in the country every year. And since April 1, 2019, when the immigration policy was officially implemented, various industries have accepted foreign workers. In fact, in the first 6 months of the new system, Japan saw its highest recorded foreign worker population with 1,658,804. In recent months, however, there has been a decline in the number of applicants from international talents hired by Japanese companies. It has absolutely nothing to do with the companies, the local government, the policy’s skeptics, and even the aspirants. Japan’s current administration is doing its absolute best to fulfill their goals with the new immigration policy. In the first months of the pandemic, the job market has been slow in accepting applications from international talents, but this isn’t true for IT companies. As the tech industry embraces the online application process, IT professionals’ job market continues to welcome foreign applicants as the need for workers in this field is expected to rise. The coronavirus may have put a setback in Japan’s job market, but aspiring foreign workers in the IT field and other industries can still apply for work visas overseas during the pandemic. Japan has gradually eased its travel restrictions to kickstart the country’s economy. As soon as the travel restrictions are completely lifted, foreigners can start working in the country again. Japan’s Immigration Policy – The New Specified Skills Visa The new Specified Skills Visa or SSV is perfect for workers seeking opportunities in the IT industry of Japan. The government’s goal is to make up for the expected 800,000 IT worker deficit by 2030. So, there are plenty of employment openings that are just ripe for the picking. Machine Parts and Tooling industry: IT workers who can assist them in machine inspection and maintenance. Electric, Electronics, and Information industry and Industrial Machinery industry: IT workers to aid in manufacturing, electronic and electrical equipment assembling, and machine maintenance. Construction industry: IT workers who are experts with telecommunications. Shipbuilding and Ship Machinery industry: IT workers who can help in electrical equipment assembling. Automobile Repair and Maintenance industry: IT workers who can support maintenance and repair for cars’ infotainment systems. Manufacture of Food and Beverages: General food and beverage manufacture. Aside from the tons of opportunities available, another great thing about the SSV is how the Japanese government will take care of the foreign workers who’ll be residing in the country. Companies are required to give services such as housing support, Japanese language, lifestyle, and administrative procedures tutorials, assistance with work-related concerns, and even providing aid to international talents who have been terminated or are subject to termination. But for international IT workers to work under the SSV program and avail of these benefits, they have to meet specific requirements. For SSV-1 workers, they need to have a Japanese Language Proficiency Test (JLPT) N4 certificate, have a passing grade in the Specified Skills Test, and be able to stay and work in the country for 5 years. Meanwhile, applicants of SSV-2 have to compile their JLPT N4 certificate, proof of a higher level of specialized skill with experience and must be able to reside in the country until they become a permanent Japanese resident. Conclusion The Japanese Immigration Policy has positively affected foreign IT workers in Japan. Despite the COVID-19 situation, the future of foreign IT workers in Japan looks promising. The Japanese government has exerted so much effort in making immigrants feel welcomed in the workforce despite some backlash. The country’s SSV program presents terrific openings for foreign workers and IT talents alike. Take this time to learn more about Japan’s Immigration Policy and apply for work online at the comfort of your home. Your next IT employment opportunity could be in Japan. Discover openings and useful tips on our website below. Sources: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-46492216 https://www.migrationpolicy.org/article/japan-labor-migration-reforms-breaking-past https://thediplomat.com/2020/01/is-japan-ready-to-welcome-immigrants/ https://www.japantimes.co.jp/community/2019/01/30/how-tos/demand-non-japanese-engineers-growing-know-youre-apply/#.XsYnCmgzZPZ https://www.nippon.com/en/in-depth/d00572/covid-19-and-the-crisis-in-japanese-immigration-policy.html https://www.nippon.com/en/in-depth/d00515/ https://asia.nikkei.com/Spotlight/Japan-immigration/Japan-bumps-into-challenges-welcoming-overseas-workers https://english.kyodonews.net/news/2020/07/a022f23f4d45-coronavirus-outbreak-latest-july-1-2020.html https://www.mofa.go.jp/files/000459527.pdf

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Work Visa Application in Japan for Freelancers

The phrases “Work from home” and “remote work” has been introduced in many Japanese companies, and the talent acquisition is not always about hiring full-time employees(Seishain). The methods of hiring labor is diversified in each company such as contracting self-employed workers, freelancers in Japan. According to this situation, the number of opportunities to hire foreigners in the form of outsourcing increases progressively. In these days, We ,GTalent, receive many questions about work visas from many self-employed workers, freelancers and the companies hiring them. At this article, We would like to explain in detail about how to apply for a work visa in the case of the outsourcing contracts as a self-employed worker and a freelancer. Work visa application with an outsourcing contract You need to apply for a working visa even at the time of an outsourcing contract as a self-employed worker and a freelancer as well as the case of full-time employed(Seishain) . However, you should be careful when having several outsourcing contracts with several companies. If you have several outsourcing contracts with multiple companies, you must ask the company which you get the highest salary in the outsourcing contracts to apply for a working visa. Therefore, be sure to check which companies contracting with you pay the highest salary to you. Important Points when applying for a working visa with outsourcing contract If you execute an outsourcing contract with a Japanese company, the following points are essentials to obtain a working visa. Appropriate outsourcing contract under the Labor Law of Japan Long-term contract Do paying the tax, pension and social security procedures by yourself These important points are followings in details. Appropriate outsourcing contract under the Labor Law of Japan To apply for a working visa, you need to attach the outsourcing contract. If the content is inappropriate under Japan’s labor law, you may not be able to obtain a working visa application permission. Therefore, be sure to specify the appropriate remuneration and terms of the contract in the outsourcing contract. Long-term contract Even when outsourcing, you need to have a long-term contract as well as applying for a working visa under a full-time employment contract. If the contract period is only 1 to 2 months, you may not be able to get permission to apply for a working visa. However, even if the contract period is short, if the contract is automatically renewed unless there is a big problem, it may be possible to obtain a visa application permission. Do paying the tax, pension and social security procedures If you are a self-employed worker, you have to pay the tax, pension and social insurance by yourself as well as Japanese self-employed worker. If you don’t understand how to do so, be sure to check the website of National Tax Agency, Ministry of Finance Japan and so on. Conclusion Nowadays more and more people are starting to work as freelancers, and the tendency will increase from now on so that companies can hire a various talent through flexible employee tyme. Particularly in the IT/WEB industry, many engineers are increasingly outsourcing their work as freelancers. Also, the number of foreign IT engineers is currently increasing in the IT/WEB industry, and it is thought that not only Japanese IT engineers but also foreign IT engineers will start to work like freelances more and more. IT engineers who are looking for work or change jobs for a Japanese company, please register with G Talent ,a recruitment agency specializing in IT engineers. A professional consultant will support you in changing jobs for free.

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How can foreign engineers get a working visa in Japan?

“I want to work in Japan to gain experience and change jobs in search of an exciting environment to gain new skills and knowledge”. There are many foreign engineers who think so. However, even if you change jobs in Japan, you must go through a work visa procedure, if the type of activities remains the same. If you fail to do so, you will face a penalty. Therefore, I will explain in detail the work visa procedures required when changing jobs. How can foreign engineers change jobs in Japan? Currently, the job change market in Japan is booming. Especially in the IT field, where there is a remarkable shortage of human resources, we are continuing to hire a large number of engineers. The needs of foreign engineers are rising, driven by the wave of globalization and the number of companies that want to hire foreign engineers is increasing rapidly. However, not only engineers but also any other foreigner have to follow the predetermined procedures to change jobs. I will explain each possible case and what I would like you to pay attention when changing jobs to work in Japan for the long term. Please note that the required documents and procedures may differ depending on the job contents of the new job. 【CASE.1】The job description of your next job will be exactly the same What you need to be careful about when you change jobs is whether your job is different from the previous job. If you have exactly the same job content or are within the scope of your current status of residence, you can change jobs relatively smoothly. In that case, the necessary procedure is to carry out a “Notification of the change of employers” to the Immigration Bureau with the work visa residence card within 14 days after changing jobs. You can choose to notify by direct contact, mail or Internet. If you do not submit a notification, a fine of “200,000 yen or less” will apply. Alternatively, the next visa renewal will result in penalties such as shortening the period of stay. The company where you change your job will not do it for you, so go to the “Regional Immigration Bureau” or “Foreign Resident Information Center” and notify by yourself. 【Reference】Ministry of Justice: “Notifications concerning activity organizations” 【CASE.2】After changing jobs, I’m not sure if my work activities are within the scope of my visa. If the foreign engineer performs the same duties as the previous job at the new work place, there is no need to change the status of residence. However, the work visas you currently own are those visas for working in a company you previously worked for. For this reason, it cannot be stated whether or not the duties of a newly working company are recognized within the scope of activities of residence status. To get rid of those concerns, apply for a “working qualification certificate” at the regional immigration office. By applying to a work qualification certificate, you can check whether the current work visa corresponds to the job description of your new job. It will be issued after clearing the examination, so it is possible to be sure about your status and concentrate on the job. 【CASE.3】I would like a job with a completely different job description. As you progress in your career as a foreign engineer, you may start thinking about new challenges. If you wish to change your job to a job outside the scope of activities defined by your status of residence, you must do your own “Application for Change of Status of Residence” by yourself before changing jobs. You can apply to that change at any time during the period of stay. However, if you change jobs outside of the scope before you get permission to change, you will be considered as doing an “activity other than that permitted under one’s resident status”. If this happens, you may not be granted permission to change your application and your status of residence may be revoked, so be sure to remember to apply for permission to change your status of residence. List of procedures and documents required for changing jobs A work visa allows foreigners to work in Japan and get paid. There are 18 types of status of residence that are allowed to work depending on the scope of activities. If you perform a job that is outside the scope of your work visa after changing jobs, you may be illegally employed. For this reason, it is necessary to have a firm understanding of the range of activities in which your status of residence is permitted. Although the contents mentioned above are included, we will explain each procedure and required documents. 【No change of duties】 If the period of stay is 3 months or more First of all, let’s check if there is no change in the job description and that the expiry date is not imminent. If your period of stay is more than 3 months, you will apply for a work qualification certificate from the Regional Immigration Bureau. It is possible to obtain a “working qualification certificate” by performing this application procedure. The work qualification certificate confirms whether the job description of the company you are working for falls within the defined scope of your visa. Obtaining a work qualification certificate reduces the risk that you will be assigned to work outside the scope of activities of your status of residence at your new job. Also, the procedure is almost the same as a normal application for renewal of period of stay. In addition, it is a major premise that there is no change in the job contents in the application, so let’s confirm it. <Required documents for application for work qualification certificate> Working qualification certificate application form Tax certificate slip / retirement certificate of the company you worked for before A copy of the company’s registry, latest financial statements, company information, etc. Employment contract, letter of appointment, salary appointment letter. Employment Notification Written statement of reasons Passport / resident card 【Reference】Ministry of Justice: “Application for Certificate of Employment Qualification” <How to prepare necessary documents> Download application for work qualification certificate from the above site Request for issuance of Tax certificate slip and retirement certificate from the company where you worked. Issuance of Registry copy, financial statements, company information, employment contract, letter of appointment, salary appointment letter, employment notification / written statement of reasons at the company where the job was transferred. 【No change of duties】 If the period of stay is less than 3 months When there is no change in the job description, but the change of job may be less than 3 months before the expiration date. In that case, “Application for Renewal of Residence Period” is required. You should attach the company information of the job change destination to the regional immigration office. Also, make sure that there is a risk that you will be forced to return to your home country if you are not allowed to stay in the company or if the new job description doesn’t meet the requirements. <Application for permission to change status of residence> Application form for renewal of period of stay Passport, original residence card and copy Recent Tax declaration certificate, Tax payment certification (resident tax) * In addition to the above required documents, the following documents are required. Tax certificate slip / retirement certificate of the company you worked for before A copy of the company’s registry, latest financial statements, company information, etc. (For companies that do not have financial results, the business plan for the next year, materials such as sales to date) Employment contract (documents that describe the activity, period, status, compensation, etc.) Written statement of reasons 【Reference】Ministry of Justice: About “Application for Renewal of Residence Period” <How to prepare necessary documents> “Application for Renewal of Residence Period” should be downloaded from the above site. Tax declaration certificate and tax payment certification must be issued at your local government office. Request for issuance of tax certificate slip and retirement certificate from the company where you worked. Issuance of Registry copy, financial statements, company information, employment contract, letter of appointment, salary appointment letter, employment notification and written statement of reasons at the company where the job was transferred. 【In the case of change of duties】 application is required regardless of the period of stay. If your job is outside the scope of your current status of residence, you must apply for a “change of residence status” to the regional immigration office regardless of the period of residence. You do not need to apply for permission to change status of residence if your job is within the scope of your current status of residence. If you have a period of stay of more than 3 months, you should obtain a “working qualification certificate”. <Application for permission to change status of residence> Application for permission to change status of residence Tax certificate slip / retirement certificate of the company you worked for before A copy of the company’s registry, latest financial statements, company information, etc. (For companies that do not have financial results, the business plan for the next year, materials such as sales to date) Employment contract (documents that describe the activity, period, status, compensation, etc.) Written statement of reasons Passport / resident card 【Reference】Ministry of Justice: “Application for permission to change status of residence” <How to prepare necessary documents> Application for permission to change status of residence is downloaded from the above site. Request for issuance of tax certificate slip and/or retirement certificate of the company you worked for before Copies of registered books, financial statements, company guides, employment contracts and written statement of reasons are issued at the company where the job is changed. Consult with a professional if you are not sure of your work visa There are various procedures and application documents for the first job change in Japan, and you may get confused. In order to alleviate those concerns one by one, it is very time consuming to search for the necessary procedures and documents for changing jobs. “There are too many necessary documents” “There are a lot of specialized words that I can’t understand”. One way to reduce this burden is to get professional support from those who are familiar with renewal procedures for work visas. How about considering a smooth job change? <Supervision> ACROSEED Inc./佐野 誠(Makoto Sano) After graduating from university, engaged in administrative scrivener work specialized in hiring foreigners. In 2006, he was appointed as the representative of the current ACROSEED group with administrative scrivener corporation, social insurance labor corporation, and tax accountant corporation. He specializes in foreign employment consulting from large companies to small and medium-sized enterprises, and is good at residence procedures. In addition, he is engaged in consulting for highly licensed and highly licensed consulting and lectures on foreign employment. Providing professional services for foreigners and foreign-employed companies, with the mission of “Contributing to harmony and vitalization of Japanese society”.