Sep 05 2018

New Immigration Agency and Work Visa Status Forthcoming


The situation

Japan’s Ministry of Justice (MOJ) is planning to introduce a new work visa status and upgrade its Immigration Bureau into an agency in April 2019 to handle an anticipated influx of foreign workers. Exact details have not been released yet and these plans are still subject to change pending Congressional approval.

A closer look

  • New work visa status. A new work visa status for blue-collar foreign workers is planned to be introduced in April 2019. There is currently no work visa category for blue-collar workers.
    • Affected industries. The work visa is expected to allow foreign nationals to work in industries such as agriculture, construction, hospitality, nursing, shipbuilding, and may be expanded to other sectors.
    • Limitations. Family sponsorship will not be available and validity will be limited to five years.

  • New agency. The current Immigration Bureau will be upgraded into a new agency with expanded scope, temporarily called Nyukoku Zairyu Kanri-cho (immigration and residency control agency). Key details on the agency include the below:
    • Larger workforce. The overall workforce of the agency will be increased to more than 5,000 staff members, including immigration officers.
    • Two divisions. The proposed agency will consist of two divisions: the Shutsunyukoku Kanri-bu (departure and immigration control division) and Zairyu Kanri Shien-bu (residency control and support division).
    • Expanded scope. In addition to immigration, the agency is expected to coordinate with other ministries, agencies and local governments to improve conditions for foreign workers.


Looking ahead

The planned upgrades are expected to allow the maintenance of Japan’s current efficient processing of work visas despite the anticipated surge in applications due to the government’s more relaxed immigration policy and the upcoming 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo.

Fragomen will closely monitor the situation and provide updates as needed.

This alert is for informational purposes only. If you have any questions, please contact the global immigration professional with whom you work at Fragomen or send an email to