Both as a working visa, Specified Skilled Worker and Technical Intern Training have many connections and commons. For example, technical intern trainees who have completed the Technical Intern Training (ii) are exempt from the skills and Japanese language test for Specified Skilled Worker, which gives a chance for trainees to stay longer even forever in Japan and also provides the first batch of skilled workers. Even opposite to the intention, both these two visas are used as a way for businesses to ensure foreign simple labor forces.
However they still have many differences, from purpose to applicable occupations, to whether job change or family accompany allowed, etc. We are going to introduce these two visas and put emphasis on their differences, and how to find a job under these two visas will also be talked about.
Specified Skilled Worker, or "Tokutei Ginou" in Japanese, is a new status of residence introduced in April, 2019. It is aimed at addressing the severe labor shortage in Japan by accepting experienced foreign labor forces with specific expertise and skills. Currently this visa is only applicable for job categories in 14 specified industries like agriculture, construction, care worker, etc, which are hard to obtain other working visas as their work duties are thought to be simple labor work. Japanese government plans to introduce about 345,000 non-Japanese workers to work under this new visa status in 5 years from 2019.
This visa has two status of residence: Specified Skilled Worker (i) and (ii). Available for foreigners with considerable skills in the field, Specified Skilled Worker (i) allows for a maximum stay of 5 years and no family member accompany is allowed. Available for foreign workers with proficient skills in the field, Specified Skilled Worker (ii) can lead to a permanent residence in Japan with unlimited renewal times, and family members are allowed to enter Japan under "Dependent" visa also. Currently Specified Skilled Worker (ii) is only applicable for construction and shipbuilding and ship machinery industry.
Technical Intern Training Program is introduced in 1993 aiming at helping developing countries by allowing these countries' nationals to work in Japan and learn knowledge and skills so that they will be able to contribute to economic development in their own countries. Japan created a new visa called Technical Intern Training, or "Ginou Jisshu" in Japanese for this program in July, 2010. Though it is stipulated that labor laws should totally apply for trainees, the reality is that they are treated as cheap labour and misuse troubles keep occuring. The number of technical intern trainees has reached 258,000 by 2017.
This visa has three status of residence: Technical Intern Training (i), (ii), (iii), allowing a total stay of 5 years. In 2019, about 144 occupations under 80 job categories in industries like agriculture, construction, food manufacturing, etc, are allowed to accept technical intern trainees.
As said before, Specified Skilled Worker is aimed at introducing foreign workers to solve workforce shortage in Japan, while Technical Intern Training is designed to transfer skills to developing countries. So actually it is illegal to hire a foreign trainee and just let him or her do simple labor work without any training plan.
Though technical intern trainees have a fast pass to Specified Skilled Worker, still they should be in the same field. For example, nursing care is available for both Technical Intern Training (ii) and Specified Skilled Worker (i), so a care worker can change from the former to the latter, but he or she can't change to Specified Skilled Worker (ii).
Technical intern trainees are not allowed to change companies, which are called implementing organizations, except for special cases like company bankruptcy. Foreigners under Specified Skilled Worker are allowed to change companies in the same job category, or change to other job categories in the same field or other fields if the similarity of the skill level is recognized.
Technical intern trainees are not allowed to invite their families to live in Japan, so do foreigners under Specified Skilled Worker (i). Specified Skilled Worker (ii) visa holders can invite their spouse and children to live in Japan together.
Basically businesses are limited with the number of technical intern trainees depending on business scale, while there are no restrictions on how many foreigners can be hired under Specified Skilled Worker. But as there is a total number limitation on skilled workers in each industry all around Japan, so visa application can still be refused out of no place left.
Specified Skilled Worker is quite simple and can be just an employment contract between foreign worker and the accepting organization (company in Japan). In some cases, the accepting organization will also contract with a Registered Support Organization to provide all of the support for skilled workers based on the support plan, which should be conducted by the company itself otherwise.
While Technical Intern Training is quite complicated that 5 parties are involved: foreign worker, dispatching companies (business enterprises overseas), sending organization overseas, Supervising Organization in Japan, the accepting organization (company in Japan).
Both as a party for Specified Skilled Worker and Technical Intern Training visa, they differ in the following.
Registered Support Organization is expected to support skilled workers based on the support plan, including language, work and life in Japan. While Supervising Organization is designed to supervise companies that technical intern trainees are treated right according to the technical internship plan and labor laws.
Registered Support Organization can be any companies or businesses who succeeded to be registered by the Commissioner of the Immigration and Residence Control Agency. While Supervising Organization can only be non-profit organizations such as business cooperatives and societies of commerce and industry.
Registered Support Organizations may charge per support or per month, while almost all Supervising Organizations charge supervising fee per month.
In the case of Specified Skilled Worker, after passing the skills and language test, applicants can just search for a job in the field as normal, by online or job search magazines. On the other hand, foreigners who are already in Japan under Technical Intern Training can search for positions published by Supervising Organizations, while those who are still in their home country shall search for job chances from sending organizations.