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Personnel Relocation to Japan

Personnel Relocation to Japan

Personal relocation to Japan can be a straightforward process if you are well-prepared and have the necessary documentation. Our immigration lawyers in Japan have highlighted a few essential things you must know if you are interested in employee relocation.

Legal framework for employees in Japan

Relocating personnel to Japan typically involves navigating immigration procedures, visa requirements, and compliance with relevant laws and regulations pertaining to the employment of foreign workers in Japan.

In Japan, the laws that govern the employment relationship for Japanese nationals generally also apply to foreign nationals working in the country. However, there is an option for the employer and employee to agree to apply a different law to their employment relationship, as stated in the Law on the General Rules of Application of the Law.

Moreover, if there is a social security agreement between Japan and the foreign national’s home country, the individual may be exempt from certain obligations, such as enrolling in Japan’s pension scheme, based on the terms of the bilateral agreement.

If you require more specific information regarding the employee relocation to Japan and immigration to Japan, please reach out to our specialists.

Is formal presence required?

Please note that when a foreign company wants to relocate its personnel to Japan without a formal presence, it should set up a representative office. This doesn’t require formal registration, but a dedicated office space is necessary.

Once the representative office is established, the employee can apply for an “Intra-Company Transferee” visa if he/she has worked at the overseas company for over a year.

If the employee hasn’t worked long enough for that visa, he/she can still apply for other visas like the “Specialist in Humanities and International Services” visa if she/he meets the requirements.

We remind you that a representative office can’t engage in commercial activities or sponsor multiple work visas. For broader activities, a branch office or subsidiary may be needed.

If the employee becomes the Representative Director of a Japanese subsidiary, he/she would need to apply for an “Investor / Business Manager” visa.

If your company does not have a legal presence in the country, our specialists in company formation in Japan can offer more details about the procedure.

Japanese work visas

Foreigners who intend to work in Japan must apply for the appropriate type of working visa. There are approximately 13 types of working visas you can apply for, but each has its own benefits and requirements. Companies will need to figure out which type of visa suits their needs the best when deciding on employee relocation to Japan.

Most of the time, for working visas, it is typically required to have a hosting organization in Japan, which is commonly the employer or the company where the applicant intends to work. This hosting organization serves as the “visa sponsor” and must provide relevant documents and information regarding its business, financials, and taxes for the work visa application.

If your business has a formal presence in the country and you intend to relocate the personnel to Japan, your employees would still generally require a visa sponsor.

Our lawyers are ready to assist you if you have more questions about visas and immigration to Japan.

If you are interested in learning more about the Japanese workforce, here are a few interesting facts and statistics:

  • As of 2022, Japan’s labor force consisted of approximately 69 million employees;
  • In the same year, the country had an unemployment rate of 2.8%;
  • The number of foreign workers in Japan has seen a 5.5% increase compared to the year 2021;
  • The manufacturing sector has the largest proportion of foreign workers, with the service industry coming in second.

Please do not hesitate to contact our team for any cases regarding immigration, Japanese residency, or employee relocation.