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Employment Agency Services for Specified Skilled Workers

What is “Specified Skilled Worker”?

“Specified Skilled Worker” program is a system of accepting foreign nationals of immediate use in jobs with a considerable knowledge of or experience in response to “Japan’s severe labor shortage”.
There are conditions for entering Japan under this system: to put it simply, those who “have passed the technical intern training evaluation examination(s) and the Japanese Language Proficiency Test (JLPT) N4 or higher” are “allowed to enter and work in Japan”.

*It is now possible to enter Japan with “a short-term visa” and take “the technical intern training” evaluation examination(s) (From April 2020)


  • Period of Stay: Renewed annually, every 6 months or every 4 months, for a maximum stay up to 5 years in total
  • Skill Standard: Confirmed by the tests, etcs. Relevant tests: “the technical intern training evaluation examination(s)”
    Japanese Language Level: Proficiency in Japanese language used in daily life and at the workplace, confirmed by tests to measure proficiency; the JLPT N4 or higher level is required
    (those who have completed the Technical Intern Training (ii) are exempt from the tests)
  • Accompaniment by Family Members: Basically not permitted
  • Livelihood Support: eligible for support from the accepting organizations or registered support organizations.

【Specified Industry Fields】

Nursing care; accommodation industry; food service industry; manufacture of food and beverage; agriculture; fishery and aquaculture; aviation industry; automobile repair and maintenance;
construction industry; electric, electronic and information induscties; industrial machinery industry; building cleaning management; machine parts and tooling industries; and shipbuilding and ship machinery industry.
The abovementioned 14 industries

*There are two types of the status of residence “Specified Skilled Worker”: Specialized Skilled Worker (i) and Specialized Skilled Worker (ii).
   Specified Skilled Worker (ii) is a status of residence for foreign nationals to engage in jobs that require proficient skills in Specified Industry Fields.
   (For construction, and shipbuilding and ship machinery industries only.)

【Evaluation Tests for “Specified Skills of Nursing Care”】

“Nursing Care Skills Evaluation Test” + “Nursing Care Japanese Language Test” + “Japanese Language Proficiency Test N4 or higher”

  • Japan’s caregiving system, technology and skills are said to be at the top level in the world, and many young foreigners come to Japan to become qualified “caregivers”.
  • After obtaining various qualifications, they can return to their home countries and become leaders of the care business in the future.
  • “Salaries” are stipulated to be basically “equal to or higher than” those of Japanese.
  • Many “systems of career advancement examinations” are offered to caregivers (Those who have taken qualifications can receive a pay raise or a benefit in return).

【Livelihood support】

A host company is under obligation to offer the livelihood support to the workers, while it can also outsource the operations to a registered support organization.
It is “the obligation” of a company that employ foreign nationals with special skills to provide the following 10 items of support.

【Obligations of Host Companies to Support Workers】

Obligation items Obligation contents
(1) Advance guidance
*Before entering Japan
Explain all 10 articles below about “Specified Skills Support Services”.
The guidance should be done after the employment contract is signed and before applying for a Certificate of Eligibility for Resident Status.
It will be given in a language that the foreigner can understand.

The following 4 points will be explained at the advance guidance.

  • Working conditions: Explain about working conditions such as salary and working hours.
  • Activities: Explain the nature of work or activities defined in the Specified Skilled Worker (i).
  • Immigration procedures: Explain the necessary procedures to enter the country. The procedures for applying for a visa, etc.
  • Guarantee money, penalty contracts, or other illegal contracts: Confirm that the worker have not made or will not pay guarantee money for the performance of the specified skills, etc.
    ※The guidance can be given via in-person or web-based.
(2)Transportation upon arrival and departure Accompany the worker to the front of the security checkpoint, both upon arrival and departure.
Upon departure, see the worker until checking-in.
A host company is obliged to assist the specified skilled workers in their safe entry into and departure from Japan.
  • Airport pick-up upon arrival: accompanied by the host company’s staff *with an escort interpreter.
  • Airport send-off upon departure: accompanied by the host company’s staff until check-in *with an escort interpreter.
(3)Support for housing and contracts necessary for living Be a joint-guarantor in the rental agreement, help open a bank account and sign contracts for a mobile phone or public utilities, assisting them in the application processes. *with an escort interpreter
A minimum of 7.5 square meters of personal space must be provided in the worker’s residence.
Shared housing is acceptable.
  • “Housing” gurantee: preferable for workers to live in the host company’s “employee dormitories”.
  • Mobile phone contract: preferable for the host company to “lend the worker a mobile phone (with restricted use)”.
(4)Guidance for daily life in Japan Explain to workers about Japanese rules and etiquette, how to use public institutions and medical facilities with their contact information, disaster prevention, crime prevention, disaster response, opening a bank account, handling ATMs, etc. so that they can live a smooth social life.
It is necessary to explain in a language that the specified skilled worker(s) (i) can understand.
In particular, the rules for taking out the garbage, smoking, going out at night, etc. are points that can easily cause problems with the neighbors, so explain with particular emphasis. Other important things, including information about supermarkets and the purchase of everyday items.
(5)Accompaniment and support for official procedures, etc. Accompany and support the worker(s) to submit notifications to the national or local government
  • Notifications about the organization (company) the worker belongs to *with an escort interpreter; support for the procedure
  • Notifications about the local government office *with an escort interpreter; support for the procedure
  • Notifications about social security and taxation *with an escort interpreter; support for the procedure
  • Other administrative procedures *with an escort interpreter; support for the procedure
(6)Providing opportunities for Japanese language study Provide workers with information on Japanese language classes, Japanese language learning materials, etc.
Currently, there are a variety of Japanese language education services available.
(7)Response to consultations and complaints Respond to workers’ difficulties in the workplace, consultations and complaints about living in Japan in their native languages.
Make clear to workers the name, organization, address, telephone number, and mobile phone number of the person in charge of support at the host organization.
(8)Promotion of cultural exchange with Japanese people Create opportunities to experience Japanese culture and customs by guiding workers to local festivals, assisting them in participating in them, and providing opportunities to interact with local residents.
(9)Regular consultation and reporting to government agencies The person in charge of support shall regularly meet with the foreign worker and their superiors, etc. to confirm that there are no violation of the Labor Standards Act, etc. It is the obligation to report them to the relevant governmental agencies if any violation is found.
*At least once every three months.
(10)Job change support
(in case of personnel reduction, etc.)
If the contract of employment is terminated due to reasons of the host company, etc., it should help them change jobs and prepare a letter of recommendation. It is necessary to provide information on unemployment benefits, paid leave and other necessary administrative procedures to conduct job search activities.
Naturally, if the worker leaves for their own reason, the host company is not required to provide job change support.