QuickJobsJapan
Career Guide

The New Technical Intern Training Program in Japan

The New Technical Intern Training Program in Japan

Technical Intern Training Program, which was established in 1993, aims to contribute to developing countries by providing employment opportunities to people from these countries for a certain period of time and transferring skills, technologies, or knowledge to them. The number of foreigners under this program reached 258,000 by 2017, roughly 20 percent of all non-Japanese workers in Japan, including people coming from China, India, Philippines, Vietnam, Pakistan, etc.

As the program expands year by year, many problems are also exposed to the public, such as that technical intern trainees are placed in jobs that do not teach or develop technical skills, or are paid under legal minimum wages. To address these problems, Japanese government has introduced a new status of residence, Specified skilled worker, for unskilled labor works to avoid trainees to be engaged in these works. In the other hand, a new Act on Proper Technical Intern Training and Protection of Technical Intern Trainees, has been taken into effect on November 1, 2017, which aims at ensuring the proper implementation of the program and protecting trainees.

Status of residence for Technical Intern Training

There are two types of Technical Intern Training Program: supervising organization type and individual enterprises type. For both types, Japanese companies, which are also called implementing organizations, conduct training to trainees, however for the former type, trainees are accepted by non-profit supervising organizations, such as chambers of commerce, etc. and then dispatched to each affiliated implementing organization, while for the latter type, trainees are accepted directly by implementing organizations from their overseas office, joint-venture or transaction enterprise.

There are three kinds of residence status for both the individual-enterprise-type technical intern training and supervising-organization-type technical intern training:

Technical intern training (i)

This refers to training where a foreign trainee has been accepted for the purpose of acquiring skills through attending the necessary lectures and engaging in work relating to such skills.

Furthermore, this residence status is divided into sub-item (a), corresponding to an individual enterprises type, and sub-item (b) corresponding to a supervising organization type.

The period of stay is normally 1 year, with 2-month-long lectures at implementing organization (technical intern training (i)(a)) or supervising organization (technical intern training (i)(b)) before practical training at implementing organization, while supervising organization will make visiting guidance and inspection in the case of technical intern training (i)(b).

Technical intern training (ii)

This refers to training where a foreign trainee who has been accepted for the purpose of increasing proficiency in the skills through engaging in work which requires the skills. Samely, there are sub-item (a) and sub-item (b) under this residence status. The period of stay is normally 2 years.

To apply for technical intern training (ii), the trainee must:

・complete technical intern training (i)

・continue training in the same job category at the same implementing organization as technical intern training (i) in principle

・The job category must be one of the designated categories for which there are needs in sending country and official skill evaluation system is prepared

・pass the specified "technical intern training evaluation examination" at basic level with both theory and practical exams included

Technical intern training (iii)

This refers to training where a foreign trainee who has been accepted for the purpose of attaining proficiency in the skills through engaging in work which requires the skills. Samely, there are sub-item (a) and sub-item (b) under this residence status and the period of stay is normally 2 years.

To apply for technical intern training (iii), the trainee must:

・complete technical intern training (ii)

・continue training in the same job category at the same implementing organization as technical intern training (ii) in principle

-The job category must be one of the designated categories same as that of Technical Intern Training (ii)

-The implementing organization or supervising organization must satisfy certain definite conditions and be recognized as an excellent organization

・pass the specified "technical intern training evaluation examination" at second level with only practical exam included

Note that the trainee must go back to his or her home country temporarily for more than 1 month before the application of technical intern training (iii). And the trainee must go back permanently once the technical intern training (iii) expired and without any new residence status.

Consequently, foreigners can reside in Japan under Technical Intern Training residence status for a maximum of 5 years.

Flow of the Technical Intern Training Program

The flow of the 5 years' technical intern training program can be concluded as follows:

1. Entry into Japan with Technical Intern Training (i)(a) or (b);

2. 2 months of lectures;

3. 10 months of practical training;

4. Pass theory and practical exams of basic level;

5. Change status of residence to Technical Intern Training (ii)(a), (b);

6. 2 years of practical training;

7. Pass the practical exam of second level;

8. Back to home country temporarily (more than 1 month);

9. Change status of residence to Technical Intern Training (iii)(a), (b);

10. 2 years of practical training;

11. Return to home country.

Job categories eligible when interns shift to Technical Intern Training (ii)(iii)

As mentioned before, only trainees at designated job categories can transit from Technical Intern Training (i) to (ii), or from Technical Intern Training (ii) to (iii). The number of occupations and work subject to transfer has increased to 144 operations in 80 categories as the end of May, 2019. If divided by industries, they should be like:

・Agriculture (6 operations in 2 job categories)

Such as facility horticulture in cultivation agriculture, etc.

・Fishery (9 operations in 2 job categories)

Such as skipjack pole and line fishery in fishing boat fisheries, etc.

・Construction (31 operations in 21 job categories)

Such as percussion type well drilling operation in well drilling, etc.

・Food Manufacturing (14 operations in 9 job categories)

Such as can seaming for canned foods in can seaming for canned foods category, etc.

・Textile (22operations in 13 job categories)

Such as pre-spinning work in spinning operation, etc.

・Machinery and Metals (27 operations in 15 job categories)

Such as casting iron and article operation in casting, etc.

・Others (24 operations in 12 job categories)

Such as hand processing on furniture making in furniture making, etc.