Overview of Japan’s Specified Skilled Worker Program

The Japanese government introduced the Specified Skilled Worker (SSW) Program to tackle labor shortages in key economic sectors. This program permits foreign workers to enter and work in Japan under specific conditions, aiming to fill gaps in industries crucial to the country’s economic stability and growth.


Address Labor Shortages

The primary goal is to fill labor gaps in industries experiencing significant workforce shortages.

Attract Skilled Workers

The program aims to attract workers who have the skills and experience needed in Japan's key sectors.

Eligibility Criteria

Skills and Experience

Applicants must have specific skills and experience relevant to the sectors they are applying for.

Language Proficiency

Applicants must pass the Japanese Language Proficiency Test (JLPT) at the N4 level or higher, or an equivalent language test.

Skills Evaluation

Applicants must pass a skills assessment test for the specific industry they wish to work in.

Industries Covered

The SSW Program covers 14 specific sectors:

Nursing Care

Building Cleaning

Material Processing

Industrial Machinery Manufacturing

Electric and Electronic Information


Shipbuilding and Ship Machinery

Automobile Maintenance




Fisheries and Aquaculture

Food and Beverage Manufacturing

Food Service

Types of SSW Visas

SSW Type 1

Allows foreign workers to work in Japan for up to 5 years. Workers under this visa cannot bring family members.

SSW Type 2

Issued to workers with more advanced skills in certain sectors (currently limited to construction and shipbuilding). This visa allows for long-term residency and the possibility of bringing family members.

Application Process


Ensure all documents are prepared, including proof of skills, experience, and Japanese language proficiency.

Skill and Language Tests

Pass the necessary tests for the specific industry.

Job Offer

Obtain a job offer from a Japanese employer willing to sponsor the visa.

Visa Application

Submit the visa application through Japanese immigration authorities.

Working Conditions and Rights

Employment Contract

Workers must have a valid employment contract that outlines working conditions, wages, and job responsibilities.

Labor Rights

Foreign workers are entitled to the same labor rights and protections as Japanese workers, including fair wages, safe working conditions, and social security benefits.

Support and Integration

Employers and support organizations assist with integration, including housing, language classes, and cultural orientation.

Renewal and Transition


SSW Type 1 visas can be renewed annually, up to a maximum of 5 years.

Transition to SSW Type 2

Workers who acquire advanced skills and meet the criteria can transition to an SSW Type 2 visa, which allows for longer residency and family accompaniment.

Challenges and Considerations

Language Barrier

Continuous improvement in Japanese language skills is crucial for effective communication and integration.

Cultural Adaptation

Adapting to Japanese workplace culture and societal norms can be challenging for foreign workers.

Support System

Availability of support services for foreign workers, including legal assistance, housing support, and cultural orientation, is vital for successful integration.

The SSW Program has been pivotal in addressing critical labor shortages in Japan while providing foreign workers with valuable employment opportunities. By focusing on skilled labor and ensuring fair working conditions, the program contributes to the economic growth and development of Japan’s key industries.

In conclusion, Japan’s Specified Skilled Worker Program is a well-structured initiative designed to attract skilled foreign workers to fill labor shortages in specific sectors. It offers a pathway for skilled individuals to work and potentially settle in Japan while contributing to the nation’s economic and industrial development.

How to Apply

Tell us a little about yourself and we’ll help with the rest. Our convenient online application tool only takes 10 minutes to complete.

After you submit your application, an admissions representative will contact you and will help you to complete the process.

Once you’ve completed your application and connected with an admissions representative, you’re ready to create your schedule.


Are you ready to take the next step toward your future career?