The Examinations You Need to Pass for Special Skilled Worker Visa
Many foreigners are dreaming to work and live in Japan. A new opportunity came up when Japan announced a new type of resident status, the new Specified Skilled Worker Visa which began in April 1,2019 aiming to solve the lack of manpower in the country. There are certain requirements you have to meet to be eligible to apply for the said visa and also, examinations you must pass to prove that you are qualified.
For foreigners who completed 3 years as a technical intern trainee in the field of relevant industry and obtained a certificate of completion, they are eligible to apply for Specified Skilled Worker Visa even without taking the JLPT exam or the Skill Evaluation Test (prometric exam) as long as it is the same industry. However, if they are planning to apply in a different industry, (for example: a welder who wanted to be a farmer and shift in the field of agriculture) they are required to pass the Skill Evaluation Test for the particular field.
On the other hand, foreigners in Japan who never had an experience being a technical intern trainee (for example: student visa holders who are aiming for SSW Visa) and foreigners abroad who are wishing to work in Japan under the 14 categories of SSW Visa, must pass the Japanese Language Proficiency Test or JFT Test as well as the Skill Evaluation Test on their preferred industry.
Let’s talk about the Japanese Language Proficiency Test (JLPT) and Japan Foundation Test for Basic Japanese (JFT-Basic) first.
The Japanese Language Proficiency Test (JLPT) uses optical answer sheets and it measures comprehensive Japanese-language communicative competence through three elements: Language Knowledge (Grammar/Vocabulary), Listening and Reading. It is offered in 5 levels (N1, N2, N3, N4, N5) and you must pass the N4 level or higher (though this may be higher depending on which industry you enter) while, JFT is another option for foreigners who are from these 8 Asian countries: Philippines, Vietnam, Indonesia, Thailand, Cambodia, Myanmar, Nepal and Mongolia. It is conducted through Computer-Based Testing (CBT) and the test is composed of four sections: Script and Vocabulary, Conversation and Expression, Listening Comprehension, and Reading Comprehension.
The JLPT Exam is conducted twice a year (July/December) in Japan and overseas, while the JFT-Basic is conducted 6 times a year in the 8 Asian countries mentioned above. With regard to test results, JLPT results can be confirmed online approximately 2 months after the test date, and the result is delivered via post mail after approximately three months. In the case of JFT-Basic the results are available on the day of the test, and a notification of assessment results can be viewed and printed on the registration website within 5 business days.
Now, let’s discuss about the Specified Skill Evaluation Test.
You have to pass the Skill Evaluation Test in the field you want to work under the 14 categories for Specified Skilled Worker.
The following 14 industry fields can obtain the status of residence for Specified Skilled Worker:
- Care Worker
- Building Cleaning Management
- Machine Parts and Tooling Industries
- Industrial Machinery Industry
- Electric, Electronics and Information Industries
- Construction Industry
- Shipbuilding and Ship Machinery Industry
- Automobile repair and maintenance
- Aviation Industry
- Accommodation Industry
- Fishery and Aquaculture
- Manufacture of Food and Beverages
- Food Service Industry
The Evaluation Skill Test is handled by the Prometric Center and is conducted through Computer-Based Testing (CBT). The test can be taken in different Test Centers all over Japan and in 8 Asian countries (Philippines, Vietnam, Indonesia, Thailand, Cambodia, Myanmar, Nepal and Mongolia).
The different category for Specified Skilled Worker Test can be found here: http://ac.prometric-jp.com/testlist/ssw/index.html
You have to select which test are you planning to take and you can view all the important details about the test on each industry such as test dates, duration, test rescheduling/cancellation, test fees, payment methods and etc.
There are specific test centers assigned on every country. For example, in the Philippines, there are 4 testing centers across the country however, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, there are times where in some test centers are forced to suspend the exam. You can always check the updates about the test venues (status) and schedule online on this link:
If you pass the test, you are not allowed to take the test again and those who failed must wait for a certain number of days prior to attempting the same test again. The waiting period prior to taking the exam again varies depending on each industry. For instance, in the Food Service Industry, you have to wait for 30 days before you can retake the exam, while in other industry might require you to wait for 45 days.
The test schedule for each industry varies as well so it is better to always check the updates frequently on the category you are planning to take the exam and register ahead of time. I will attach below some helpful links also.
JFT Basic website:
Prometric Exam for SSW link:
Prometric Exam Test Center Venues and Status:
The 14 Industry Fields and Job Categories to Engage In