Govt to set point system for foreigners

The government will introduce a point system by the end of the year to give preferential treatment–such as easing the conditions for permanent residency–to non-Japanese with advanced expertise who want to come to Japan, according to a government source.

The government is likely to award points to non-Japanese who meet certain criteria concerning their educational background, work experience and annual income.

The business world has asked the government to introduce the system amid heightened competition with other Asian nations to acquire competent manpower.

According to a rough draft by the Justice Ministry, the point system is expected to cover foreigners working in the fields of academic research, advanced expertise and technology and business management.

The government is likely to provide an evaluation system to conduct an objective rating on a 100-point scale.

For example, under the category of business management, the government is likely to allocate 35 points for a candidate’s academic background; 15 points for working career; 35 points for annual income and 15 points for the candidate’s status at his or her current company.

The government is expected to add bonus points according to Japanese language skill and previous places of employment. The pass line is expected to be 70 out of 100 points.

The government also has been considering requests made by non-Japanese already living in Japan for changes to the current system.

The changes being discussed include:

— Easing the conditions to obtain permanent residency, so that persons may apply after living in Japan for a consecutive three to five years, instead of the current 10 years.

— Extending the period of stay to five years for people holding visas of up to three years.

— Allowing such workers to be accompanied by their financially-dependent parents and their employees, such as maids.

— Eliminating the 28-hour per week work limit for dependent spouses.