To cope with the low birth rate and labour shortage that follows, Japan launched a new type of work visa called ‘Specified Skill Visa’ (tokutei ginou, 特定技能) in April 2019. With two new types of permits introduced, the number of foreign workers was expected to increase. If you’re interested in working in Japan, you might be wondering what the options are. In this article, I will go through facts about the new work visa. Here’s what you need to know.

Specified Skill Visa: Type-1

Who is eligible for this new visa?

According to VisaGuru, this visa is for foreigners with experience in low-skilled to mid-skilled labour work in 14 sectors including: 

1. agriculture

2. materials processing

3. nursing care

4. shipbuilding

5. restaurants

6. airport ground handling & aircraft maintenance

7. food and beverage

8. hotels

9. industrial machinery

10. electronics and electric machinery

11. building cleaning

12. construction

13. vehicle maintenance

14. fishery

Not only that work experience is required, those who wish to apply for this visa also have to pass the government’s Japanese language test, which will be conducted in 9 countries including Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia, Mongolia, Nepal, the Philippines, Cambodia, and China.

How long does this visa last?

This visa is valid for the maximum of five years, with the possibility to change to type-2 visa when specialized skills have been acquired.

How many slots are available?

For the first year, the government aimed to attract 47,550 workers, then increase the number to 345,150 by the fifth year.

What kind of tests are required?

In order to apply for the visa, applicants need to either pass JLPT N4 test or JFT-Basic test (国際交流基金日本語基礎テスト), which requires basic Japanese proficiency equivalent to CEFR-A2 level. For more information and free test samples, visit the official website here.

Specified Skill Visa: Type-2

Who is eligible for this new visa?

Workers who already possess type-1 specified skill visa and have acquired enough skills in their industry through their work experience can apply. 

How long does this visa last?

This visa offers unlimited renewal and possibility to gain permanent resident status.

How many slots are available?

Not specified

What kind of tests are required?

Applicants for this visa need to be able to demonstrate expertise in their skills. This can be proven using tests and/or certificates.


I hope this article can help you with your career journey in Japan. If you are a student, take a look at this article for what you need to know about Japan’s job-hunting visa.