Four Types of Residence Status for Care Workers and Care Worker Qualification

Four Types of Residence Status for Care Workers and Care Worker Qualification

It is predicted by Japanese government that labor shortage in the care industry will be up to 377,000 by 2025. To address this problem, the government has created 4 kinds of visa to attract foreign nationals to enter Japan and work in care facilities, including: EPA Care Worker under Designated activities, Care Worker under Technical intern training, Care Worker under Specified skilled worker, and Nursing care. Though most foreign care workers are under the former two visas as they are started early, the latter two are really attractive for either easy to be eligible or possible for permanent residence.

This article is going to introduce these visas and their pros and cons. And the absolutely necessary Qualification of Certified Care Worker for working as a care worker in Japan will also be talked about.

Visas for working as a care worker in Japan

Specified visa Designated activities: EPA Care Worker

Japan has contracted bilateral Economic Partnership Agreements (EPA) with Indonesia, Philippines, and Vietnam to accept foreign care workers since 2002. Foreign nationals from these countries can come to Japan, undergo training while working, and aim for Qualification of Certified Care Worker. If they obtained the qualification they can work and live in Japan permanently by renewing the Designated activities visa. The accepting facilities of EPA Care Workers can be welfare universities or nursing facilities. Candidates will be eligible for Certified Care Worker Examination after studying for two years or working for three years.

The pros of working as EPA Care Worker in Japan include that permanent residence may be possible, workplaces are managed well by accepting facilities, and allowances can be received from government. The cons may be that only foreign nationals from the above three countries have the chance, and if candidates failed to obtain the qualification they have to go back to their home country.

Working visa Technical intern training: Care Worker

Care Worker is one of the job categories allowed for Technical intern training, which aims at contributing to developing countries by providing work opportunities to their nationals for a certain period of time and transferring skills, technologies, or knowledge to them. Trainees from China, Vietnam, Philippines, India, Thai, etc, come to Japan, work and study at nursing facilities. Just as this visa's purpose, trainees have to leave Japan after staying for a maximum of 5 years if they fail to change to other valid residence status.

The pros of working as a care worker under Technical intern training include that trainees can learn technologies and contribute to their own countries. The cons include that this visa can't lead to a permanent residence, only nationals of some countries can be eligible, people may have to pay to dealers in order to become a trainee, and changing jobs or companies is impossible.

Working visa Specified skilled worker: Care Worker

A newly established residence status with care worker also included in allowed 14 job categories, aims at introducing non-Japanese blue-collar workers to Japan. Other than expertise in the field, applicants only need to pass Japanese language test and skills test to be eligible. This residence status has two types No. 1 and No. 2, in which the latter allows a permanent residence but the former only allows a maximum of 5-years stay. While care worker is not applicable to Specified skilled worker No. 2.

The pros of working under this blue-collar visa include that relatively easy to be eligible, foreign nationals from any country can apply for, and allowed to change jobs in the industry. The cons may be only 5-years stay and family members accompany is not allowed.

Working visa Nursing care

This is the most powerful visa for foreigners engaging in caregiving in Japan, as it can lead to a permanent residence with unlimited renewal times, and family members can also stay in Japan under Dependent visa, and changing jobs in the industry is possible. As a working visa aiming at introducing high-talented foreign labor forces, Nursing care has the following quite high requirements to apply for:

・has obtained Qualification of Certified Care Worker

・has contracted employment with a care facility in Japan

・work duties should be providing care or care instructions

・be paid not less than their Japanese counterparts

The first condition is the most difficult part, as the qualification requires years of studying or working in the field. Currently there are two ways to approach.

・Studying at a school in Japan under Student visa for certain years, then obtain the qualification, change to Nursing Care visa

・Working at a care facility under other visa for certain years, then obtain the qualification, change to Nursing Care Here EPA Care Worker, Technical intern trainee are also included. Currently care worker under Specified skilled worker is not allowed to change to Nursing Care.

About Qualification of Certified Care Worker (CCW)

A Certified Care Worker (CCW), a national qualification in the area of nursing care set under the Certified Social Worker and Certified Care Worker Act, refers to a person with expert skills and knowledge providing care for people with physical disabilities or mental disorder and intellectual disabilities, and providing instructions on caregiving to others. As said above, acquiring this qualification is a necessity of applying for Nursing care working visa.

Two kinds of person can be qualified to be a CCW:

・Who passed the Certified Care Worker Examination, which includes two parts: written test and practical test.

・Who has acquired the relevant knowledge and skills by studying for two years or more at a designated school or at a designated training facility. One year or more may be fine for some schools or subjects.

It has been decided in 2018 that even the above graduated students still have to pass the examination to obtain the qualification from 2022 in order to improve the quality of care worker in Japan. So the Certified Care Worker Examination will become an absolute test for becoming a CCW in the future, while practical test can be exempted if certain conditions met.

About Certified Care Worker Examination


The exam is held once a year. The nearest exam will be written test on January 31, 2021 and practical test on March 7, 2021. The application will be from August 12 to September 11, 2020. Though there are 34 sites all around Japan for written test, the practical test is only held in Tokyo and Osaka.

Eligible applicants

・Who has studied at a designated high school or junior high school for three years or more

・Who has studied two years or more in a non-degree course for graduates

・Who has been engaging in services such as care work for three years and the working days should be more than 540

・Who is recognized as having equivalent or greater knowledge and skills as defined by the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare