SINGAPORE: Japan is preparing to ease permanent residency rules by the end of March in a bid to attract more highly skilled immigrants, according to a report in the Japan Times.
The chance for permanent residency is tied to a points system which is based on the immigrants' skill level and other criteria.
In January, the Ministry of Justice announced a further reduction on the waiting time this week to three years for those who score 70 points and just one year for those who score 80 points, the report said.
Previously, all immigrants living in Japan were eligible for permanent residency after five years - a reduction from 10 in 2012 for those deemed highly skilled.
According to Japan's immigration website, highly skilled professional applicants earn points in three categories - advanced academic research activities, advanced specialist/technical activities and advanced business management activities.
Points can be calculated via a table available on the website that documents qualities such as availability of a doctor's or master's degree (which awards up to 30 points) and length of work experience (10 years or more in a specific business gets 20 points).
Applicants can also earn extra points if their awards and qualifications come from recognised institutions and if they have passed Japanese proficiency tests.