New special residency permit guidelines established

New guidelines for special residency permits issued by the Minister of Justice to foreigners who have received deportation orders for illegal overstays have been established, the Ministry of Justice announced Friday.

Listed as having grounds for positive consideration include: those who are raising biological children in elementary, junior, or senior high school and who have lived in Japan for 10 years or more; those who have lived in Japan for 20 years and are firmly rooted in Japan; and those who turn themselves into authorities for illegally overstaying and have no records of other law violations.

Meanwhile, those who have illegally issued or received passports, or entered the country on fraudulent passports or visas are unlikely to be eligible for special residency permits. Even those who have lived in Japan for 20 years or more, will be considered for deportation if they have been convicted of illegally issuing or receiving passports.

While special residence permission is left to the justice minister’s discretion, guidelines for granting permission were established by the Ministry of Justice for the first time in October 2006. The latest revision took place because of a supplementary provision written by both ruling and opposition party legislators into the amended Immigration Control and Refugee Recognition Law that passed during the current Diet session to “increase the transparency of special residence permissions.”

In 2008, 8,522 foreigners were granted special residency permits, meaning that a little over 70 percent of all petitions for permission have been granted. In March 2009, Justice Minister Eisuke Mori granted special residence permission to a 14-year-old Saitama girl who was born and raised in Japan and whose parents had been deported to the Philippines for illegally entering Japan, given that she lives with her relatives.