Digital nomads welcome: Japan plans visa overhaul to attract global talent

With the introduction of a new visa system, Japan intends to extend the stay of digital nomads, granting remote workers a six-month stay. Tax treaty citizenship and evidence of income are requirements for eligible applicants.

The Japanese government has announced plans to prolong the stay of foreign talent and remote workers, also known as “digital nomads,” under a new visa system, to boost economic growth and consumption. The Immigration Services Agency released a statement on Friday that includes significant modifications to the current visa laws.

The new approach will allow digital nomads who work remotely for businesses to stay in Japan for up to six months, which is a considerable extension over the 90 days that the short-term tourist visa currently allows. This action is a response to the growing global trend of professionals travelling for work-related purposes.

There are requirements that applicants must fulfil to be eligible for the designated activities visa. They must be citizens of one of the 49 countries or regions that have tax treaties with Japan and are free from the need for a visa. Additionally, candidates must provide proof of income above 10 million yen annually. The digital nomad’s spouse and kids are also eligible to enter the country with an extended visa.

To put the new system into place by the end of the 2023 fiscal year in March, the administration is scheduled to start soliciting public feedback on the plan on Saturday.

This project is a response to requests from the business community for the government to provide incentives and facilities for digital nomads. The number of people who are considered to be digital nomads worldwide is projected to be over 35 million, according to a poll conducted by a U.S. travel agency and published by the Immigration Services Agency.

In June of last year, the Japanese government said that it would be open to considering the prospect of extending the stay period for digital nomads. This move was made following the larger growth and redistribution policy for “new capitalism” that was authorised at the same time.

In a news conference, Justice Minister Ryuji Koizumi highlighted the potential advantages of digital nomads, stating, “They can become a source of innovation. While many countries are making efforts to attract them, we hope those people will work in Japan too.”

The action demonstrates Japan’s resolve to maintain its competitiveness in the global talent market and to establish itself as a desirable travel destination for professionals looking for both exceptional cultural experiences and career prospects. The new visa policy intends to make Japan a more accessible and desirable travel destination for the expanding global community of digital nomads, and the government is actively seeking public comment on it.