Japan Tightens Student Residency Rules to Combat Illegal Work, Missing Foreign Students

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
The Immigration Services Agency

The Immigration Services Agency on Friday amended a Justice Ministry ordinance concerning the student residency status of foreign students at universities and vocational schools in Japan by tightening the criteria for granting the status.

The measure was taken in response to several incidents that have come to light since around 2019, in which some foreign students reported missing by their universities were later found to be working illegally. The ordinance revision is aimed at strengthening measures against such issues.

Measures include halting the acceptance of foreign students at universities with inadequate management of foreign students. The required duration of study at a Japanese language school for foreign students who are enrolled at vocational schools, such as for caregiving, will be increased from the current minimum of six months to over a year.

Additionally, due to the high number of unaccounted for individuals among research students and auditing students learning Japanese with the aim of enrolling in undergraduate programs, they will not be granted student residency status.