To qualify for Highly-Skilled Professional Points, what kind of innovation does my organization need to be involved in?

July 19 2023

If you are hoping to apply for permanent residency using the “Highly-Skilled Professional (i)(a)” or “Highly-Skilled Professional (i)(b)” categories, or the Points-based System for Highly Skilled Professionals, you might be dismayed to find you are short 10 points.

For those needing more points, please check the 1st page of the “Points Calculation Table”, under Bonus Point 4: “Work for an organization which receives financial support measures for the promotion of innovation”.

To put it simply, if a contracting organization is involved in innovative business or research that is considered important by the Japanese government, 10 additional points will be awarded to foreigners who are (or will be) working for that organization.

What kind of innovative business or research does the Japanese government consider important?

The pdf file above contains a list published by the Ministry of Justice of innovative business and research that the Japanese government considers to be important. This list is used to determine whether a company or organization is eligible for points.

In other words, you can’t receive points just by saying that your company is doing something innovative, only if you are involved in a project or research designated by the Japanese government.

On the second page of the list in this pdf file, you will see that the names of various projects are listed in Appendix 2 (related to Article 1).

First, you need to check this list to see if your company is involved in any of these projects. Of course, the pdf file is all written in Japanese, so I don’t think a foreigner who is planning to apply could make a decision about it on their own, so it would be a good idea to consult with your company’s human resources.

For your reference, I have the impression that in some cases, research institutions fall under “Grants-in-Aid for Scientific Research”. Also, if your organization belongs to a venture company that is expected to expand in the future, it may be a company selected for the J-Startup Program.

A sample of the projects on the list

What kind of documentation do I need to substantiate my application?

To make a case that your organization is a recipient of the “Innovation Promotion Support Program”, you will need to submit a copy of the Notice of Award (補助金交付決定通知書) for the grant, or other documents as proof of your organization’s involvement in the project.

Whether your company or organization would be willing to submit these or not we cannot say, you would need to explain the situation and ask for support.

What if I want to apply for permanent residency based on the points system for Highly-Skilled Professionals?

To apply for permanent residency using the Highly Skilled Professionals points system, you can apply if you scored 70 points or more three years ago and currently have 70 points or more, or if you scored 80 points or more one year ago and currently have 80 points or more.

Therefore, if the organization you belonged to three years ago, or one year ago, falls under this category, you may be eligible for additional points.
For example, if you are applying for permanent residency in December 2023, you may be eligible for additional points if the organization you belonged to in December 2022 or December 2020 fell under this category.

However, if you have already left the organization you were working for at the time, it would likely be difficult to ask for cooperation in obtaining documentation, such as a copy of the Notice of Award (補助金交付決定通知書).

If you cannot obtain this kind of documentation, you might consider if you can provide proof using publicly available materials.

Feel free to ask us about the Points-based System for Highly Skilled Professionals!
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