Negative impact to visa application from arrears in social insurance premium

Japanese Version

Social security systems of Japan are complex and little explained in languages other than Japanese. Because of this, some world talents in Japan forget to pay social insurance premium and leave it in arrears. Such arrears have negative impact to visa application.

Immigration Bureau reviews fulfillment of “tax obligation” as a reinforcing factor for acceptance of visa application. Payment of social insurance premium is considered as a part of the tax obligation. The Bureau takes it more seriously at review of application for permanent residency (PR). It is one of requirements in PR‘s “interest of Japan” criteria. In fact, there are cases where PR application is denied due to arrears in social insurance premium.

Such arrears seldom happen to a world talent working in a medium-large corporation, where the company takes care of the social insurance and the premium is withheld from paychecks. Even for such a talent, the following cases can be overlooked and become a pitfall:

  • Unemployed period at job change – everybody has to pay premium and join health insurance even during unemployment period, either Employee’s Health Insurance (as optional extension) or National Health Insurance, by him/herself not by employer.
  • Spouse starts earning more than 1.3 million annually. Should this happen, the spouse can no longer claimed as a dependent in health insurance and has to join an insurance for her/himself. If the spouse can not join Employee’s Health Insurance at her/his employer, then s/he has to join National Heath Insurance.

Although an insurer sends a notice for premium payment, it can be overlooked because it is written only in Japanese. A world talent should make it sure not only him/herself but also for family members: there are cases where the arrears of a spouse (e.g. wife) in the second case become a reason of denial against PR application of a supporter (e.g. husband).

It is currently at discretion of an immigration officer how a fact of the arrears is considered in his/her judgement over an application. In other words, there is currently no explicit law nor regulation enforcing an officer to deny an application just because of the arrears. However it is worth noting that Ministry of Justice (MOJ, who administers the Immigration Bureau) is considering to have a bill to enacting denial for deliberate arrears of social insurance premium. World talents in Japan should be careful for all of family members not to fall into arrears.

Link: MOJ Guidelines on Visa Application (including a note on “Tax Obligation”)
Link: MOJ Guidelines on PR application (including a requirement of fulfilling “public duties such as tax payment”)
Link: MOJ’s indication to have a bill to enact the denial (Japanese) (Minutes of Legal Committee of Diet in Japan, Nov 9th, 2018))