I’ve written about the requirements for Japanese permanent residency umpteen times, and it was only recently that I found out my interpretation of it was lacking in detail, probably resulting in some misunderstandings.
To recollect, the Japanese government had made requirements of attaining permanent residency much easier for highly skilled foreigners. For everyone else, 10 years of continuous residency and among which, at least 5 years was spent working is still the standard requirement for eligibility. For highly skilled workers with 70 points and above under the point evaluation system, only 3 years of continuous work and residency is required, while for outstanding highly skilled workers with at least 80 points, only 1 year of work and residency is required.
Now, if you are a regular work visa holder missing out on the 70 points by a little. 3 years later, you check your points again and find that you do have 70 points now. Can you then apply for permanent residency? The answer is no.
The requirement states that one has to work under the highly skilled worker visa for the stipulated number of years before becoming eligible for permanent residency. This means, if you have 70 points, you have to apply for the highly skilled worker visa first. Once approved, you have to work for the next 3 years under that visa before you are eligible to apply for permanent residence.
This means, for someone like me who’s been here 7 years now, it makes no difference whether I apply for the highly skilled worker visa or not if I only have 70 points, because either case, I’ll still have to wait 3 years and either case, I’ll be eligible to apply for permanent residence after 3 years since I would’ve been here for 10 years by then. The only more attractive option for me would be the 80 point outstanding highly skilled worker visa. Unfortunately, I’m not that outstanding, so that is a no go.
The only up side to the highly skilled worker visa for me is that my 3 year visa would be extended to 5 years. To check your points, you can download this excel sheet here.
More thinking to be done.
UPDATE 20/06: If you can read Japanese, I suggest you use this form instead as I realized the English version is not updated to include points given to those with N2, and those who graduated from universities that rank in the top 300 colleges around the world in at least 2 recognized rankings.