Skilled Labor

Before you look through this page, be sure to check Overview of Japanese Immigration System page in order to learn the basic information for visa application. >> Overview of Japanese Immigration System


Status of Residence called "Skilled Labor (技能 Ginou)" is applied to those who engage in skilled profession such as chef and cook of foreign cuisine, carpenter of foreign architecture, chaser of jewelry, sommelier, athletic and sports trainer, pilot, and other occupation which require special skills during their period of stay in Japan.

Examples of Occupation

Cook, Chef, Patissier of Foreign Cuisine | Sommelier | Sports Instructor and Trainer | Pilot | Animal Trainer | Craftsman for Jewelry, Metal and Fur | Engineer or Craftsman for Foreign Architecture and Civil Engineering | Engineer, Craftsman and Repairman for Foreign Products and Goods | Excavation and Investigation for Oil Exploration

In order to apply for "Skilled Labor" visa status, you must satisfy all of criteria and requirements listed on the following page: Criteria and Requirements. After that, you need to confirm whether you may satisfy the requirement for "Skilled Labor" visa status. >> Requirements for "Skilled Labor" visa status.

Then, you should prepare necessary documents in order to certify your qualifications for the visa status. The documents should be different depending on your situation and the host organization/company, however, you may refer to the following: >> Necessary Documents.

Considering your eligibility for Skilled Labor visa status in all aspects, Immigration Office will grant you Skilled Labor visa status to reside and work in Japan with an authorized period of stay. >> Period of Stay

Necessary Procedures at Immigration Office

In case you are outside Japan yet or you are staying in Japan as a temporary visitor, you must take a step called "Certificate of Eligibility (COE) Application" first.

>> Types of Procedures: Certificate of Eligibility (COE) Application

In case you already have been in Japan under other type of visa status, you need to take a step called "Change of Status of Residence".

>> Types of Procedures: Change of Status of Residence

Requirements for "Skilled Labor" visa status


"Skilled Labor" visa status shall be granted to those who intend to engage in the activity below and fulfill each of requirements.

(A) Cook, Chef and Patissire of Foreign Cuisine

You must have more than 10 years relevant work experience (including educational experience) in the field of foreign cuisine (French, Italian, Chinese, Thai and other cuisine which is special and unique in Japan).

Only in case of Thai Cook and Chef, the requirements below shall be applied (by Japan-Thailand Economic Partnership Agreement on 1st of November, 2007):

  • More than 5 years relevant work experience as Thai Chef/Cook.
  • Qualified as Thailand National Skills Standard Thai Cooking Certificate level 1 or above.
  • Given enough monthly salary as Thai Chef/Cook in the past year.

If you would like apply for "Skilled Labor" visa status as a cook or chef, you must have cooking skills enough to serve full-course dinner of the cuisine or have a license equivalent to it. That means, you cannot be recognized as a skilled professional even if you have more than 10 years work experience only at diners and small restaurants which have a few menu.

(B) Engineer or Craftsman for Foreign Architecture and Civil Engineering

You must have more than 10 years relevant work experience (including educational experience) in the field of Foreign Architecture or Civil Engineering.

More than 5 years work experience shall be enough in case you will engage in the activity under direction of foreign engineer who have more than 10 years experience in the field of foreign architecture and civil engineering.

(C) Engineer, Craftsman and Repairman for Foreign Goods and Products

You must have more than 10 years relevant work experience (including educational experience) in the field of manufacture and repair of foreign products.

(D) Craftsman for Jewelry, Metal, or Fur

You must have more than 10 years relevant work experience (including educational experience) in the field manufacture and repair of jewelry, metal or fur.

(E) Animal Trainer

You must have more than 10 years relevant work experience (including educational experience) in the field of animal training.

(F) Excavation, Investigation and development for Oil Exploration

You must have more than 10 years relevant work experience (including educational experience) in the field of excavation, investigation and development for oil exploration.

(G) Pilot

You must have more than 1,000 hours flight experience and obtain Certificate of Airline Transport Pilot License or Commercial Pilot License, and engage in the activity as a pilot in command or co-pilot.

(H) Sports Instructor and Trainer

You must satisfy 1 OR 2 below:

  1. You must have more than 3 years relevant work experience (educational experience can be included) as a sports instructor or trainer.
  2. You have taken part in the international competition such as world championship or the Olympics in the field of sports you intend to teach in Japan.

(I) Sommelier

You must have more than 5 years relevant work experience (including educational experience) in the field of evaluation, quality management and sales of wine as well as be qualified ONE of 1 – 3 below.

  1. Those who have achieved excellent results in international competition regarding tasting wine such as international sommelier concours.
  2. Those who have taken part in international sommelier concours which contestants are limited to one person per country.
  3. Those who have qualifications or licenses authorized under national and public organization or designated by Minister of Justice in Japan regarding wine tasting and evaluation.

Also, the host organization or company should be recognized to do restaurant business or other related business and management.


You are supposed to be paid equal to or more than that of Japanese who are engaged in the same field during your period of stay in Japan (more than 200,000 JPY monthly). Also, the employment contract between you and the host organization/company should be made on a long-term basis.


Your employer (the host organization/company in Japan) should be recognized that they are managing their business properly, stably and continually.

If you fulfill the requirements above as well as you are applicable to Highly Skilled Professionals, you may have a preferential Immigration treatment. (>> Go to Highly Skilled Professionals.)

Necessary Documents

You are required to prepare documents which certify that the contents of the application are true and correct. Necessary documents are varied depending on the situation of each applicant and the host organization/company, however, it shall be as follows:

(1) Evidence regarding the applicant’s experience and qualifications:

  • Resume, C/V.
  • Documents which certify educational experience: e.g. University Diploma, Certificate of Graduate.
  • Documents which certify your work experience: e.g. Certificate of Employment issued by ex-employer.
  • Documents which certify your qualifications and licenses: e.g. Certificate of the license, Certificate of Sommelier, Certificate of Competition.

(2) Evidence regarding the applicant’s occupation in Japan, terms of employment (i.e. monthly salary, period of employment etc.):

  • e.g. Employment Agreement, Employment Contract, Letter of Employment, Letter of Appointment issued by the employer.

(3) Evidence regarding the employer:

  • Company Brochure or Leaflet.
  • Certificate of Company Registration (Toukibo Touhon, Toukijikou Shoumeisho).
  • Financial Statement for the last fiscal year.
  • In case of new company: 1-year Business Plan, Notification of the establishment of salary payment office, Payment slip for Withholding Tax (for the past 3 months) or Application for Payment of Withholding Income Tax on a Semiannual.
  • All the documents written in foreign languages need to attach Japanese translation.
  • Additional documents may be required during the screening at Immigration Office.
  • Some documents may be omitted in case the host organization is classified under categories as follows: 1) listed company, 2) the total amount of annual withholding tax on the latest "Withholding Records and Payment Records" counts more than 15 million JPY, 3) the host organization which can submit a copy of the latest "Withholding Records and Payment Records".
  • Any certificate has to be issued within 3 months before the date of application.

(amended in July, 2012)

Period of Stay

Each visa status has the expiration date – you can stay in Japan with the visa during the specific period stated on Residence Card issued by Immigration Office. Period of stay depends on the case, however, it shall be either of 5 years, 3 years, 1 year, or 3 months.

If you intend to stay in Japan under the same visa status after the expiration date, you may apply for "Extension of Period of Stay" 2 months before the expiration date. >> How to Apply of "Extension of Period of Stay"

If you travel outside Japan during the period of stay and reenter Japan, you need to obtain Special Re-entry Permission or Re-entry Permission depending on how long you will stay outside Japan. >> Check out Special Re-entry Permit or Re-entry Permit

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