Japanese language tests for new visa applicants

Hello, this is Anna from IMS.

According to this article, if you are a citizen of Indonesia, China, the Philippines, Cambodia, Thailand, Vietnam, or Myanmar, and are seeking a Japanese work visa, you may have to take a language proficiency test as a part of the application.

This comes as part of the revamping of the immigration system in Japan; these revisions were passed by the Japanese legislature earlier this month. This was a major change to existing policy, and its process in the Diet was a heavily debated one, but eventually was passed on December 8. As a result of the new reforms, two new statuses of residence have been created and will be effective starting April 2019: a category 1 “special skills” 5 year visa, and a more long-term category 2 visa for those with special expertise. (Read more here.).

In order to obtain these newly formed visa statuses, however, one must demonstrate a working understanding of Japanese daily conversation, and therefore 8 countries (the abovementioned 7, and one other country still in negotiations) will now have language tests. The revamping of the visa application process will also include the creating of many other programs at both the local and intergovernmental level.

Despite the language tests for new applicants in these countries, those from other countries who are already in Japan with the Technical Intern Training Program (TITP) are eligible for the new category 1 visa without an examination.