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Japan Imposes Stricter Visa Process for Foreign Students, Including Vietnam, From April

Due to the increasing number of visa overstays, Japan's Immigration Services Agency will tighten the issuing process for student visas for dozens of countries from April.

According to Nikkei Asian Review, Japan will also expand its list of countries subject to stricter visa checks. Currently, only students from seven countries, including China (excluding Hong Kong and other regions), Vietnam, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Bangladesh and Mongolia are under strict visa screening processes. Vietnam currently has the highest number of people overstaying their student visas, 3,065 in total.

The list will now include 80 countries, with China removed, as the number of Chinese nationals overstaying their student visas has dropped. China will then join the ranks of 117 other countries that are exempted from a strict screening process for student visas.

Nationals subject to stricter checks are required to submit multiple certificates displaying their highest academic level, the account balance of a relative who will pay for their living expenses, and proof of the student’s relationship to said relative.

According to the news source, the move is also part of Japan’s effort to promote their specified-skill work visa program, which requires applicants to pass a skills test for the sector they want to work in and sit through a Japanese-language proficiency exam.

The program was introduced in April last year and aims to grant 340,000 visas to foreign workers over five years. However, it’s failing to attract non-Japanese workers. As of September last year, only 219 foreign nationals received the specified-skill visa.  

Outside of Japan, skills and language exams held before visa programs begin are only held in six countries. Despite having the largest number of workers in the Japanese internship program, Vietnam has held none.