Discussed during the week on the JPOD, (Japan Today’s official podcast) was the new foreigners’ registration cards in Japan. Hosted by Kamasami Kong, special guests include NPR radio host and journalist John Matthews, Japan Today editor Chris Betros, Tokyo Comedy Store’s Bob Werley, resident adventurer, John Adams and Steve Burson, president of H&R Group, who gave the details on the new registration cards.
According to Steve Burson, since Japan has made changes to the immigration law in the country, a new resident card will be released for foreigners starting July 9, 2012. He explains that foreign residents are given three years to change on to the new resident card.
When asked about the differences between the old card and the new one, Burson said that the new cards will still look like the old one, but with less information. New arrivals with a valid medium- or long-term visa will receive a resident card at their port of entry. Current medium- and long-term residents in Japan will get the new card when they apply for visa renewal or extension from July 2012. Also, permanent residents need to go and renew their cards every seven years.
The new process will make it easier for foreigners living in Japan. Changes of name or nationality, employer or school information, and family relations will all be handled by the Immigration Bureau. However, any changes on address and other basic information can now be made at the local ward office. If the resident card is lost, damaged or stolen, foreigners may visit their nearest immigration office for reissuance of the card.
About the advantages of having the resident card, Steve Burson explains that medium-to-long term residents with resident cards will no longer need to apply for re-entry permit if they leave and return to Japan within one year. Additionally, the validity term of the re-entry permit for those going to be away for more than 12 months will be extended from three to five years. Also, foreigners on three-year visa, once they renew it, would be given a 5-year visa.
First-timers in Japan should be able to get their resident cards at the airport and within 14 days, he or she will have to register his or her address in Japan to local authorities and do their citizen registration as well, at the ward office. Also, those foreigners currently living in Japan have three years to change their alien registration card to the new one.
Finally, Steve Burson also shared the efforts of Japanese authorities in trying to find ways for the foreign community in the country to make things easier for them. He says that the Immigration Bureau is doing a good job in pushing through these new systems since 2010, example of which are those for employers or larger companies, so they can get visas for their employees, a new point system for foreigners, which when accumulated, will eventually allow them to do things within the visa, like have a home helper from another country or have their parents live with them in Japan for a longer time and many other things.
If you have any questions regarding the new foreign residency system, Steve Burson is able to answer them at no cost. Contact Steve at H&R Block through their website, with your message attention to Steve or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.Further information can be found on the Immigration Bureau of Japan website.