Skilled Worker


(amended in July, 2012)

Status of Residence called “Skilled Worker (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


Regardless of which visa status you will apply for, you need to satisfy the criteria first.
>> BASIC CRITERIA of visa status


Skilled Worker” 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 enough skills and technique to engage in cooking or food preparation/producition of the authentic foreign cuisine and you will engage in working as a chef, cook or patissire in the same field of foreign cuisine during your stay in Japan.

You need 10 years or more of related work experience (including academic background) as a chef, cook or patissire at restaurant etc. which serves authentic cuisine of French, Italian, Chinese, Thai or other foreign country.

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.

Bartender is not included.
If you would like apply for SKILLED WORKER visa status as a cook or chef, you must have cooking skills enough to serve authentic full-course dinner of the cuisine or have a license equivalent to it. That means, you cannot be recognized as a SKILLED WORKER even if you have 10 years or more of work experience only at diners and small restaurants which have a few menu and simple food.

(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.

Bartender is not included.
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 visa application must be sponsored by the specific entity/organization/company who is willing to hire you in Japan to engage in the activities applicable to the visa.

  • Your visa sponsor (host organization/company) must be recognized that they are managing their business properly, stably and continually. If your visa sponsor is a newly established entity, 1-year business plan will be required to prove the business stability.

Possibility of HSP status

If you fulfill the requirements above as well as you are applicable to Highly Skilled Professional, you may have a preferential Immigration treatment. >> Jump to Highly Skilled Professional


In case you are currently residing outside Japan yet or you are staying in Japan as a temporary visitor:
>> COE Application

In case you have been in Japan under specific status and holding Residence Card already:
>> Change of Visa Status


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 the Immigration Office after submitting the application.
  • Some documents may be exempted in case your visa sponsor is classified under categories as follows: 1) listed company, 2) the total amount of annual withholding tax on the latest “Records for Salary Payment and Withholding Tax” counts more than 10 million JPY, 3) your visa sponsor can submit a copy of the latest “Records for Salary Payment and Withholding Tax”.
  • Any certificate of Japanese authorities (Tax/Income Certificate, Certificate of Residence, Certificate of Company Register etc.) has to be the one issued within 3 months before the date of application.


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 shall be decided by Immigration Office depends on the applicant’s circumstance, and it shall be either of 5 years, 3 years, 1 year or 3 months. The period of stay is granted by the Immigration Office based on each case and situation.

In case you wish to extend the period of stay granted, you may apply for Extension of Period of Stay before the expiry date.

In case you would like to travel outside Japan temporarily under the visa status.
>> Re-Entry Permit

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