Japanese employers are required to check the residence status of any new or lateral foreign hires to confirm that they are
(i) residing in Japan legally, and
(ii) have the appropriate residence status to engage in the proposed work activities for the employer
and have an ongoing duty to continuously monitor and confirm legal residence and appropriate residence status while employing a foreign national.
Late last year, Japanese Immigration released smartphone and PC-friendly apps designed to assist in this process. The apps read an IC chip located within a foreign national’s residence card (zairyuu kaado) to confirm the validity of the card, provide an image of the residence card on file with Japanese Immigration (which includes the duration of the individual’s permitted residence in Japan as well as a description of their residence status), and provide information on whether the foreign national has permission to engage in any activities outside of the scope of his or her residence status.
In the past, many employers conducted their own visual check of residence cards to confirm residence status or used an old online system offered by Japanese Immigration to confirm the validity of residence cards, but over the years, there has been a marked increase in the circulation of fraudulent residence cards, including cards that appear to be valid when searched under the old online system. We therefore strongly encourage employers to incorporate into their onboarding and ongoing compliance processes confirmation using one of the new apps offered by Japan Immigration, as there is a strong likelihood that these older methods of confirmation will not be considered sufficient in the future and may subject employers to penalties.
A link to the apps on the Japanese Immigration website is provided below.