Highly Skilled Professional (HSP) VISA
The Highly Skilled Professional VISA (henceforth ‘HSP’) is a visa for highly skilled foreign nationals.
HSP visa offers preferences such as permanent residency for a minimum one-year stay, no visa renewal for five years, running a company on the side, and bringing in parents from the home country to help raise children. The examination period is also shorter.
If applicants score at least 70 points in total, based on point criteria such as education (degree and school), professional experience, annual income and Japanese language skills, they will be granted HSP visas.
In recent years, the number of people eligible for HSP points has increased due to policies such as the expansion of universities eligible for HSP points (in favour of those studying in Japan) and the addition of points for investment, financial personnel.
Note that applicants may also meet the requirements of HSP VISAs by increasing their years of experience and annual income, improving their Japanese language skills during their stay in Japan.
This article explains the Highly Skilled Professional VISA and its benefits for applicants and HR officers.
Highly Skilled Professional (HSP) VISA outline
There are four Highly Skilled Professional VISAs, Type 1a, 1b, 1c and type 2, each of which is a separate VISA.
Highly Skilled Professional Type 1（高度専門職1号） are divided into 3 areas: a) academic research and professions, b) specialists requiring specialised knowledge and skills, and c) business management. Highly Skilled Professional employees are permitted to manage their own business in conjunction with their main activity as well.
HSP 1-a is granted to researchers, university professors and others who meet certain criteria to research or teach.
The main activity is research, teaching or teaching under contract with a Japanese research institute, and the management of a business related to the research is also permitted.
Management of research-related businesses is to be carried out while continuing the research.
For example, a university professor in the field of biotechnology may participate in the management of a biotech venture as a director. This means that it is not possible to manage a restaurant or other business that is not related to the main activity (research field).
（２）HSP1-b（Officer, Engineer, Investment Banker etc）
Highly skilled professional 1 (b) is a visa for highly skilled people working as technicians and specialists. In principle, all persons other than academics and managers qualify for this HSP 1-b visa.
The main activity is to perform work requiring specialist knowledge on the basis of a contract with a specific Japanese company or other organisation. In conjunction with this, it is also permissible to manage a business related to the main activity on one’s own.
（３）HSP1-c（Business Manager, Senior Management）
Highly Skilled Professional 1-c is a visa granted to managers of large companies, senior management and other personnel of high social standing. It is also possible to set up a new business under Highly Skilled Professional 1-c if the conditions are met.
Highly Skilled Professionals Type 2 is for highly skilled personnel who have stayed in Japan for more than three years under Highly Skilled Professional Type 1a, b or c. Highly Skilled Professionals Type 2 are additionally assessed on their conduct in Japan and whether or not they are compatible with the national interest.
Job change and Visa renewal
Highly Skilled Professional 1 a, b and c have designated organisations where they can work, so if they change jobs, they have to undergo re-assessment for a new Highly Skilled Professional visa.
Benefits for preferential treatment
Highly Skilled Professionals are granted a number of benefits.
The preferential measures are: i) management of businesses related to the main activity; ii) 5-year visas are granted; iii) easing of permanent residency requirements; iv) employment by his/her spouse; v) bringing in parents from the home country; vi) employment of domestic servants; vii) priority processing of immigration procedures.
In addition, Highly Skilled Professional IIs can continue to enjoy the preferential treatment of a) almost all employment status activities, b) indefinite period of stay, and c) Highly Skilled Professionals (ⅲ) to (ⅵ).
Requirements for HSP1b
When employing people on Highly Skilled Professional visas, most will apply for HSP 1b (a: researcher, academic professor, c: senior management). Therefore, Highly Skilled Professional 1b will be explained. *HSP1a (researcher, professor) is here.
①On the HSP point rule, more than 70 points
②More than 3 million JPY as expected annual income
①On the HSP point rule, more than 70 points
The Highly Skilled Professional visa is subject to the criteria for calculating HPS points, which are stipulated by law and require a total of at least 70 points from education (degree, school), professional experience, annual income, JLPT, etc.
Please note that these points do not have to be kept above 70 at all times during the period of stay, but they must be exceeded when the HSP visa is renewed.
②Minimum annual income
Highly skilled professional positions require a minimum expected annual income of at least 3 million JPY.
Annual income means ‘remuneration received from the employer over the next year’. It includes basic salary, bonuses and allowances. On the other hand, it does not include allowances for reimbursement of actual expenses such as commuting, support and housing allowances (except those that are taxable).
Case study : Who is eligible for HSP-1b？
【Case１】age 20s, master’s degree in Japan, 3years work, 6 mil JPY income
【Case２】30s, Bachelor (not in Japan), 10years work experience, 7 mil JPY income
When your HSP VISA is cancelled
Highly Skilled Professional 1 a, b and c holders are subject to visa revocation if they are found to have been in residence without carrying out the relevant activities of the visa for more than three months, except in cases of illness or other justifiable reasons.
The Government gives priority in administrative processing to applications for Highly Skilled Professional. The processing takes significantly less time to complete than for general visas: a, b within one month; c depends on the applicant’s circumstances (from within one month).
If the employee has a master’s degree or higher, an estimated annual income of at least 10 million JPY, or holds JLPT N1, he/she may be eligible for Highly Skilled Professional visa (HSP).
HSP holders are entitled to preferential treatment, including the granting of a 5-year visa, the ability to bring in a parent to look after a child, and permanent residency for a minimum of one year. Besides, do not forget to follow the various legal procedures after employment.
They may be an attractive Benefit for employees. HR managers in companies should feel free to contact us for further information.
Learn more: How to Calculation, HSP1-a, HSP1-b
Learn more: If the employee(applicant) is a Transferee from your overseas office?
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