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Status of residence for foreign drivers! ! ~ Increasing expectations from the industry ~


For foreigners who are considering to acquire a driver’s license in Japan

From April 2019, “Improvement of the Immigration Control Act”, which aims to increase the acceptance of foreign workers, will come into force.
In 2018, the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare announced that the ratio of job offers for car drivers becomes more than tripled, and the driver shortage is becoming even more serious problems.
How will foreigners employment change in the logistics industry, taxi and bus industry, etc. in the future?
In the next two articles, we will explain work visa and professional driver qualification in details.
Once you finish reading, you will know that obtaining a license in Japan will help you to get useful professional qualification in the future.

Table of contents

  • 1. What is the status of residence?
  • 2. Outline of Revision of Immigration Law
    • New status of residence: Creation of “specific skills”
    • I. Target industries of Specific Skill Visa No. 1
    • II. Target industries of Specific Skill Visa No. 2
  • 3. Requests from industry
  • 4. Summary

1. What is the status of residence?

When foreigners work in Japan, a status of residence is required to prove that they are permitted to work. The status of residence is “a qualification required for foreigners to stay in Japan legally.”
There are 33 types of residence status, and depending on the status of each activity and the status of a spouse, the period of stay in Japan and the activities that can be performed during the stay will change.

2. Outline of Revision of Immigration Law

New status of residence: Creation of “specific skills”

One of the key updates of this revision is adding the new residence status “specific skills”.
Specific skill visas are divided into two types, and in principle, students who complete visa No.1 can advance to the second pass, visa No.2, if they pass the exam.
However, because the target of visa No. 2 is currently limited to only 2 industries, foreigners who have worked in other 12 industries that are not eligible, will return to their home countries when the visa No.1 is finished.

I. Target industries of Specific Skill Visa No. 1
1 construction, 2 shipbuilding / marine, 3 automobile maintenance, 4 aviation, 5 lodging, 6 nursing care, 7 building cleaning, 8 agriculture, 9 fishery, 10 food and drink manufacturing 11 eating out, 12 basic form material, 13 industrial machinery manufacturing, 14 electric and electronic information related industry
Stay up to 5 years are permitted, but no family members are allowed

※ If you complete a training program for 5 years, you will be eligible to obtain a specific skills visa No.1 that gives you another maximum 5 years, so you will be able to stay up to 10 years in Japan total.

II. Target industries of Specific Skill Visa No. 2
1 Construction, 2 Shipbuilding, Marine industry
Here, family members are also permitted, and they will be able to renew their stay.

As you see, “driver business” does not correspond to any of target industries in Immigration Reform. In other words, even under the reform, it is not possible to “Stay in Japan for the driver business”.

3. Request from industry

On the other hand, as we mentioned at the beginning, there is a serious shortage of drivers in Japan now. Recently, there was a report that the Keizai Doyukai, which is one of the “big three economic groups”, has put together a proposal asking for securing residence status for foreign truck drivers.

4. Summary

There is no doubt that Japan will accept a pro-driver status in Japan in several years that foreigners will be able to apply.
In the next article, we will introduce a new licensing methods and professional driver qualifications in the global community.

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