Tokutei Ginou 特定技能 (Specified Skilled Worker Visa) is a new visa type introduced as recently as April 2019 by the Japanese government for foreign nationals coming to Japan.
What is Tokutei Ginou
This visa helps employers hire foreigners trained under 14 specific industries.
The industries currently identified under this policy are
- Building cleaning
- Electronics & Electrical equipment
- Food & drink manufacturing
- Industrial machinery
- Materials industry
- Restaurant catering/banqueting
- Ship building
- Vehicular maintenance
Apart from these, some other industries are also under discussion to be included in this umbrella.
Unlike other work visas, where the applicant must hold a university degree or prior experience, Specified Skilled Worker visa DOES NOT require a degree, and the visa holder is given a chance to upgrade to Permanent Resident status in Japan.
Variants of Tokutei Ginou
Under this policy, the Japanese government has released two statuses of residence – Specified Skilled Worker (i) and Specified Skilled Worker (ii). You have to meet certain criteria to apply for this visa.
Here’s a quick comparison of the Specified Skilled Worker (i) and (ii) status of residence
|Specified Skill Worker (i)||Specified Skill Worker (ii)|
|Work in Japan for up to 5 years||No restriction on time spent in Japan|
|You cannot bring family to Japan||You can bring family to Japan|
|You receive same salary as Japanese workers||You receive same salary as Japanese workers|
|You receive Japanese language training||You already have Japanese language training|
Specified Skilled Worker (ii) is a step up from Specified Skilled Worker (i) and recognized those who are better experienced and highly skilled in their field.
Applying for Tokutei Ginou visa
If you are already in Japan on the Technical Intern Training visa, you can upgrade directly to the Specified Skilled Worker (i) visa when your internship is completed. This also lets you stay on in Japan or switch employers. For instance, you might want to shift to the urban areas where wages are higher.
For others wondering how to get this visa, read on.
To apply for the Tokutei Ginou visa, you must have some knowledge of the Japanese language and should have cleared the JLPT (N4 or higher depending on the industry). You should also have some level of skill in the industry you have applied for. A recognized certificate and/or at least 1-2 years of experience goes a long way.
Here’s what you need to do to apply for the Tokutei Ginou visa
1. Proficiency tests
To get the Specified Skilled Worker (i) visa, you need to clear a Japanese language test as well as a skills proficiency test for the industry you are training in. However, as mentioned above, if you have completed Technical Intern Training (ii), you do not need to clear these tests unless you wish to change the industry you are working in.
You can find more information and sample papers on the internet about the kinds of questions you will be asked.
2. Switching from another visa type
As mentioned before, you do not need to take a proficiency test if you already have completed Technical Intern Training (ii) satisfactorily. However, to work in a different field from your current one, you will need to take the skill test for that industry.
People holding a Student visa can also go through the test process and convert their visa to Tokutei Ginou. Many students take the Specified Skilled Worker test while going through normal job hunting (under Humanities visa). If they fail to secure a job under Humanities visa, they convert the visa to Designated Activities while searching for a job under Humanities visa and trying to clear the Tokutei Ginou proficiency tests. This way they can continue their stay in Japan and secure it with a well-paying job.
3. Support from company
After you have cleared the skill test and language test, you need an employment contract with a company before you can apply for a work visa. If you are not in Japan, the interview can be conducted directly with the company or through the placement agency which is helping you.
If you are already in Japan, you can contact the Hello Work government agency which provides employment placement services. Also feel free to contact the Foreign Workers Consultation Service for any job-related problems you want clarifications on.
You can also apply for Tokutei Ginou jobs through the WORK JAPAN app.
4. Documents required
You will need the following documents to apply for the Specified Skilled Worker visa
- Application form (to be filled by you and your company)
- Medical examination report (obtained from a hospital)
- Test certificates (for the skill proficiency and JLPT)
- Documents related to your health insurance, pension, taxes etc (provided by the company)
- Your CV
In addition to these, certain other documents are required from the company like the employment contract, employment conditions doc, support plan etc. It is best to consult with your employer OR a placement company before putting in an application. You can find more details here.