If you have a graduate degree, Japan is looking for you.
A recent change to Japan’s immigration policy will make it easier than ever for immigrants to become permanent residents. A report from Business Insider states that the country’s Ministry of Justice altered Japan’s current immigration policy in the hopes of enticing and retaining skilled foreign workers.
When it comes to outsiders, Japan is historically less than welcoming. As recently as 2010, the Land of the Rising Sun was hesitant to offer immigrants an easy path to residency— despite a falling population. Unlike the US, Japan doesn’t offer birthright citizenship to children born in the country to foreign parents and naturalization is a long and arduous process. The Washington Post describes Japan as “a country where nationality and ethnicity are fused to the point of being nearly indistinguishable.”
Japan is relaxing their immigration policies in the hopes of reversing their falling population and plugging holes within their workforce. In 2012, Japan introduced a points system allowing immigrants to achieve residency after five years. In March of 2017, the country modified the policy again so that qualified applicants could achieve residency after only three years.
Japan’s point system streamlines the path to residency, but the system is designed to attract a specific type of immigrant. Points are awarded within categories like academic achievement, salary and age; applicants can receive extra points for having specific skill sets, licenses or degrees from prestigious institutions. A person who achieves 80 points will be eligible for permanent residency after living in the country for only one year, an impressive reduction from the country’s previous policy of making immigrants wait ten years before reaching eligibility.
It’s a great time to move to Japan if you’re a highly educated person with a background in tech, academia or business. That said, being super into anime and owning way too many samurai swords will not improve your chances of becoming a permanent resident (but it might earn you some weird looks from your extended family).