This article explains overview and application of Highly Skilled Professional (HSP), one of residential statuses for world talents in Japan. It covers the following topics:
- HSP: Overview
- HSP: Merits
- HSP: Eligibility
- HSP: Application Documents and Processing Time
- Engagement Process
- Cost of Application
This article has links to external web sites and documents. The links are up-to-dated at time of writing. It is recommended however to look for any new revisions at original sites including the one below, as the links in this article may no longer be the latest.
- Ministry of Justice (MOJ). Point based a Preferential Immigration Control and Residential Management Treatment for Highly Skilled Professionals
Many countries in the world have an immigration policy to attract highly skilled or very wealthy foreign immigrants. Japan is also the same. Japan started out high skill point system for one of specified activity statuses in 2012. It has been evolved into an independent residential status of Highly Skilled Professional (HSP) in 2015.
HSP: Relationship with other residential statuses
HSP Is a residential status that is designed as an upper status, positioned on top of work permit type of regular status (this work permit type regular status is called as “baseline status” in this article). HSP status is permitted to an applicant who is qualified as a regular work permit status and also earns 70 high skill points or above.
In other words, a holder of a status other than the work permit type can not apply for HSP. Please see below a holder of which regular statuses can apply for HSP and of which regular statues cannot.
- An applicant qualified for the following statuses can apply for HSP:
- Professor, Artist, Religious Activities, Journalist, Business Manager, Legal / Accounting Services, Medical Services, Researcher, Instructor, Engineer / Specialist in Humanities / International Services, Intra-Company Transferee, Nursing Care, Entertainment, Skilled Labor
- An applicant qualified for the following statuses can NOT apply for HSP:
- Diplomat, Official, Specified Skilled Worker, Technical Intern Training, Cultural Activities, Temporary Visitor, Student, Trainee, Dependent
Four statuses are defined for HSP: (i) a, (i) b, (i) c and (ii). They are categorized in two dimensions as follows.
HSP: Categorized by Sequence – (i) and (ii)
HSP has two categories (i) and (ii). They are categorized by sequence. A HSP status holder has to start as HSP (i). Only after 3 years as HSP (i), the holder can apply for HSP (ii). Without meeting this requirement of “3 years as HSP (i)”, nobody can apply directly for HSP (ii).
Being HSP (i) for 3 years or longer → Eligible for HSP (ii)
As described above, HSP (ii) is an advanced next status for a HSP (i) holder. It enjoys immigration advantages of no expiration date and little restriction on work activities like Permanent Resident (PR). The advantages are explained further at section, HSP: Merits, below.
HSP (i): Categorized by Activity Type – a, b and c
HSP (i) has three categories, a, b and c. They are categorized by activity type. The activity types and relationships with regular residential statuses (base statues) are as follows:
- a: Advanced Academic Research Activities
- Upper status mainly for: Professor, Researcher, Instructor
- b: Advanced Specialized / Technical Activities
- Upper status mainly for: Engineer / Specialist in Humanities / International Services, Intra-Company Transferee, Professor, Artist, Journalist, Business Manager, ,Legal / Accounting Services, Medical Services, Researcher, Instructor, Nursing Care, Entertainment, Religious Activities, Skilled Labor
- c: Advanced Business Management Activities
- Next status mainly for: Business Manager, Legal / Accounting Services, Entertainment
A HSP holder Is entitled for the following advantages in immigration law. (Reference: MOJ. Points-based System for Highly-Skilled Foreign Professionals).
HSP Advantages in Immigration Law
For HSP (i)
- Multiple lines of activities are permitted
- Five year, the longest period, is permitted
- Permanent Resident can be applied only after 3 years of stay as HSP, much shorter than 10 years of stay required for a holder of regular status
- Spouse’s work permission is less restrictive
- Elder parents can be brought over when requirements are met
- Household helpers can be brought over when requirements are met
- Fast track processing of applications to Immigration Office
For HSP (ii)
- Almost all of activities are permitted
- Permission has no expiration date
- Same advantages of #3 through #7 of HSP (i) listed above
- No more immigration procedure required (except reentry permission, notification of change of contracting organization and renewal of residential card once for every seven years).
For HSP (i) or (ii) with 80 Point or above
A HSP holder, who has certified for 80 high skill point or above at time of HSP application, can apply for Permanent Resident (PR) after one year of stay as HSP in case the point remains 80 or above when recalculated at time of PR application. This advantage is applied to both HSP (i) and (ii). This means that the “only 3 years of stay” mentioned above is further shortened down to only 1 year, as eligibility for PR application in terms of length of residential stay in Japan.
In short, a HSP holder with 80 points or above can apply for PR after 1 year of stay if s/he meets other requirements.
HSP: Compared against Permanent Resident (PR)
You can find comparison between HSP and PR in this blog post on this web site.
HSP (i) – Disadvantage
In spite of the advantages described above, there is one disadvantage associated with HSP (i). It is that a HSP (i) holder has to re-apply for a new HSP (i) status when s/he changes her/his job. It is done by submitting an application for status change to a new HSP (i) under the new employer. This is because HSP point has to be re-calculated under new employment. And if the re-application is permitted, then HSP (i) status is granted along with designation of the new employer.
This disadvantage is not applied to HSP (ii).
On contrary, a holder of regular work permit status does not have to re-apply when s/he changes her/his employer as long as nature of her/his activities remains unchanged, e.g. an IT engineer changes job but still works as an IT engineer at a new company. Instead, only process has to take is to notify Immigration Office of the change of company (or contracting organization in terminology of Immigration Law). On top, it is better to obtain Certificate of Authorized Employment, an explicit permission of Immigration Office for the new job. HSP (i) does not enjoy this flexibility.
HSP (i) eligibility
A world talent becomes eligible to apply for or change to HSP (i) when s/he meets the following requirements.
- Meeting all of requirements for a certain work status, e.g.
- Already permitted for a certain work status, or
- Can be permitted as a new new immigrant for a certain work status
- High skill point is 70 or above at time of application
HSP (ii) eligibility
To apply for HSP (ii), the following should be satisfied in addition to the requirements for HSP (i) described above.
- A HSP (ii) applicant should have residential history as HSP (i) for three years or longer.
- Note: In general it is expected that a world talent currently being HSP (i) holder applies for HSP (ii). It does not mean that a world talent, who used to be HSP (i) for 3 years or longer but holds currently a different status, cannot apply for HSP (ii). Such a talent can also apply for HSP (ii) even with the “break”.
HSP: Application Documents and Processing Time
Standard processing times set by Immigration Office are as follows, which are different for new entry and for change from current status. In practice it often takes twice as much, depending on a regional immigration office you apply and on how busy an office is with other applications.
- Application for new entry: 1 month – 3 months
- Application for change from other status: 2 weeks – 1 month
Fast track processing for HSP
Prioritized fast track processing for HSP related applications is one of the HSP advantages as described above. Immigration Office publishes target processing time for HSP as follows on its web site.
– Application for new entry: Within 10 days
– Application for change from other status: Within 5 days
It is observed however in publicized statistics of Immigration Office that actual processing time for HSP can be much longer than these targets. It is therefore recommended to apply well in advance even for HSP status.
Two sets of documents are required to submit for HSP application.
- Application documents for a baseline status
- HSP point calculation table and supporting documents
Application Documents for a baseline status
Such application documents vary depending on the baseline status. Please consult the following site for details.
HSP point calculation table and supporting documents
A HSP point calculation table is defined for each activity type, a, b and c. Three tables look like the same but are slightly different. You should use the one matching with your type. Details can be found at the links below.
- Immigration Office HSP point overview (PDF, as of January 2022)
- Immigration Office HSP point calculation table (Excel, as of January 2022)
Once you choose your type and complete calculation, then you have to prepare supporting documents for your points. Such supporting documents are explained in the excel book of reference #2 above. Here are additional notes on some of point categories:
- HSP point for annual salary is NOT given for actual amount of salary paid for the last 12 months. But it is given for salary forecast for the next 12 months from HSP application date. A certificate on the forecasted salary amount has to be obtained from an employer as a supporting document.
- Salary forecast amount should include base and bonus portions of salary and exclude allowances that fluctuate (e.g. overtime allowance) or are compensation in nature (e.g. untaxable allowance for commuting, family, housing and others).
- Only for HSP (i) b and c: it is set as a pre-requisite to earn more than JPY 3 millions as annual salary (forecast).
- In other words, HSP (i) b or c cannot be applied unless annual salary forecast is JPY 3 millions or above, even if HPS total point for other categories is 70 or above.
- It should be also noted that a certificate of annual salary forecast has to be submitted as a part of HSP supporting documents in order to show that the pre-requisite is met, even when point for annual salary category is not counted in your total point calculation.
A formal certificate with details of work assignments and their duration has to be obtained from an employer in order to prove duration of careers as a professional. A typical employment certificate describes duration of employment only without the assignment details. Such a generic certificate has risk of being judged as insufficient proof of professional career by Immigration Office, who would then ask for additional proof.
To address such risk, you have to ask HR team of employers you worked for in the past to issue a certificate with details in work assignment and their durations. This process often takes long time so that you have to start it earlier than later. In case you plan to apply for HSP in the future, it should be a good idea to obtain such a detail certificate of employment and assignments every time you change you job.
It should be noted that there is no restriction in locality of careers nor employer. In other words, professional careers taken place not only in Japan but also outside of Japan can be counted up. And professional careers can be counted up which were taken place under contract with a company registered not only in Japan but also outside of Japan.
Additional 10 point for graduation of World Top 300 and other universities
10 point is added if you have graduated from an university that meets at least one of the following criteria.
- University Ranking
- Reference rankings in scope: QS World University Rankings (UK), THE World University Rankings (UK), Academic Ranking of World Universities (China)
- Universities out of Japan: Ranked within top 300 in at least two reference rankings among the three.
- Universities in Japan: Ranked in at least one reference ranking among the three, regardless of the order of the rank.
- Simpler way to judge
- MOJ maintains and periodically updates a list of universities that meet the criteria above. If your university is listed there, 10 additional point is granted. Using this simpler method you do not have to look into the reference rankings by yourself.
- The MOJ list of university ranking (as of January 2022).
- Top Global Universities Project (administered by Ministry if Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology of Japan, MEXT)
- Universities in Japan: receiving grant from this project either as Type A or B.
- Universities out of Japan: Not applicable.
- 13 universities are named as Type A, and 24 universities as Type B, as of September 2020.
- Innovative Asia Project (administered by Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan, MOFA)
- Universities in Asia: Designated as a partner university in this project
- Universities in other regions: Not applicable.
- 60 universities in the following countries are such a partner university, as of September 2020
- India, Indonesia, Cambodia, Sri Lanka, Pakistan，Thailand, Bangladesh, Philippines, Vietnam，Malaysia, Myanmar, Laos
Please read this post on the university rankings used as reference in this HSP point system if you are interested.
Academic papers published more than a threshold number (which is three as of January 2022) is among academic achievements that warrant additional points. Please find details on how to count your academic papers in this article.
Engagement process consists of three phases: Details of the engagement process can be found here.
- Case Evaluation
- Quote and Engagement
Case Evaluation and Quotation for HSP application are free of charge. Cost in the following section will be incurred after contractual Engagement and Fulfillment of services.
Cost of Application
Cost of application is as follows when you ask Anshin Immigration and Social Security Services to support your application for your HSP.
The cost is a sum of expenses and attorney fee.
Cost of Application ＝ Expenses＋Attorney Fee
Expenses for permanent resident application include the following:
- Fee payable to Immigration Bureau: JPY 4,000 per applicant (required only when Permanent Resident is permitted)
- Transportation: Actual expenses
- Translation: JPY 2,500 or less per page (Only when translation to Japanese is required. Translation of a sparsely worded document is discounted.)
Attorney fee for HSP application is calculated as follows.
Base Fee + Additional Fee
- Base Fee: JPY 100,000 (including tax)
- Additional Fee: JPY 50,000 including tax)
- For add-on service of “attending a Bureau meeting to hear reasons in case of denial”
Services in scope of Basic Fee
The following services are offered for Basic Fee:
- Evaluation of eligibility for application
- Consulting on application documents and procedures
- Validation of application documents
- Guidance on preparing “Letter of Justification” (“Riyuu-sho” 理由書), in case the letter is submitted
- Submission of application at Immigration Bureau
- Supporting an applicant in case Immigration Bureau’s requests for additional documents
- Collection of a new residence card at Immigration Bureau.