About Technical Intern Training Program

What is the Technical Intern Training Program?

The Act on Proper Technical Intern Training and Protection of Technical Intern Trainees (“Technical Intern Training Act”) was promulgated on November 28, 2016 and came into effect on November 1, 2017.

The Technical Intern Training Program was implemented with the Immigration Control and Refugee Recognition Act (Act No. 319 of 1951; the “Immigration Control Act”) and related ordinances as its legal basis, but in conjunction with a recent review of the Technical Intern Training Program, the Technical Intern Training Act and related ordinances were enacted, and a significant portion of the provisions under the Immigration Control Act became provisions under the Technical Intern Training Act.

From the standpoint of appropriate implementation of technical intern training and protection of technical intern trainees, the Technical Intern Training Program under the Technical Intern Training Act introduced a new system for licensing supervising organizations, a system of accreditation for technical intern training plans, and expanded the program for excellent supervising organizations and implementing organizations by increasing training periods and quotas for technical intern trainees.

■ Overview of the new Program under the Technical Intern Training Act

Appropriate implementation of technical training ① Establishment of basic principles for technical intern training and responsibilities of and basic policies for involved persons
② System of accreditation for technical intern training plans
③ Notification system for implementing organizations
④ Licensing system for supervising organizations
⑤ Establishment of Organization for Technical Intern Training as an approval organization (Website of the Organization for Technical Intern Training) (in Japanese only)
⑥ Establishment of rules on requests for cooperation and so on to ministers with authority over businesses, and creation of regional councils by relevant administrative agencies and other bodies
Protection of technical interns ① Creation of penalties for violations of human rights and so on
② Creation of new system for technical intern trainees to submit notices to the competent ministers
③ Creation of consultation and reporting services for technical intern trainees
④ Enhanced support for changing training sites
Expansion of program ① Extension of training period for excellent supervising organizations and implementing organizations (from three years to five years)
② Increased technical intern trainee quotas for excellent supervising organizations and implementing organizations
③ Expansion of approved occupations (regionally limited occupations, occupations unique to companies, and simultaneous training in multiple occupations)

1. Overview of the Technical Intern Training Program

The Technical Intern Training Program was established as a formal program in 1993 based on the high evaluations of training programs conducted by overseas local companies and others in the form of employee education starting in the late 1960s.

The objectives and purpose of the Technical Intern Training Program are to transfer skills, technologies, or knowledge (“Skills etc.”) accumulated in Japan to developing and other regions and to promote international cooperation by contributing to the development of human resources who can play roles in the economic development of those developing regions.

The objectives and purpose have remained constant since the establishment of the Technical Intern Training Program in 1993, and the Technical Intern Training Act provides that a fundamental principle of the program is that “technical training shall not be conducted as a means of adjusting labor supply and demand” (Article 3, Paragraph 2 of the Act).

The particulars of the Technical Intern Training Program are intended to form employment relationships between corporations, sole proprietors, and other businesses in Japan with technical intern trainees so that the trainees can acquire, master, or enhance Skills etc. that would be difficult to acquire in their home countries. The training period is a maximum of five years, and acquisition of Skills etc. is conducted pursuant to technical intern training plans.

 

2. Procedure for Accepting Technical Intern Trainees

There are two types of procedures for accepting technical intern trainees: individual enterprise type and supervising organization type.

As of the end of 2016, 3.6% of acceptances were individual enterprise type and 96.4% were supervising organization type (based on the number of technical intern trainees present in Japan).

  • Individual enterprise type: A format whereby enterprises and other businesses in Japan (implementing organizations) accept employees of overseas local subsidiaries, joint venture companies, or trading partners for technical intern training
  • Supervising organization type: A format whereby non-profit organizations such as business cooperatives and societies of commerce and industry (supervising organizations) accept technical intern trainees for technical intern training at affiliated enterprises (implementing organizations)

After technical intern trainees enter Japan, they undergo Japanese language lectures and other lectures to acquire knowledge and information necessary for their legal protection and then acquire practical Skills etc. under an employment relationship with a Japanese enterprise or other business (implementing organization) (in the case of the individual enterprise type training, the lecture implementation period need not begin immediately after entering the country).

 

Individual Enterprise Type

A format whereby enterprises and other businesses in Japan (implementing organizations) accept employees of overseas local subsidiaries, joint venture companies, or trading partners and conduct technical intern training.


Supervising Organization Type Training

A format whereby non-profit organizations such as business cooperatives and societies of commerce and industry (supervising organizations) accept technical intern trainees for technical intern training at affiliated enterprises (implementing organizations)

 

3. Technical Intern Training Categories and Status of Residence

There are three technical intern training categories for both the individual enterprise type and supervising organization type trainee acceptance formats: activities for Skill etc. acquisition in the first year after entering Japan (Technical Intern Training (i)), activities to enhance Skills etc. in the second and third years after entering Japan (Technical Intern Training (ii)), and activities to master Skills etc. in the fourth and fifth years after entering Japan (Technical Intern Training (iii)).

Statuses of residence corresponding to the technical intern training categories are indicated in the following table.

  Individual Enterprise Type Supervising Organization Type
First year after entry
(Acquisition of Skills, etc.)
Individual Enterprise Type Technical Intern Training (i)
(Status of residence: Technical Intern Training (i)(a))
Supervising Organization Type Technical Intern Training (i)
(Status of residence: Technical Intern Training (i)(b))
Second and third years after entry
(Enhancement of Skills etc.)
Individual Enterprise Type Technical Intern Training (ii)
(Status of residence: Technical Intern Training (ii)(a))
Supervising Organization Type Technical Intern Training (ii)
(Status of residence: Technical Intern Training (ii)(b))
Fourth and fifth years after entry
(Mastery of Skills etc.)
Individual Enterprise Type Technical Intern Training (iii)
(Status of residence: Technical Intern Training (iii)(a))
Supervising Organization Type Technical Intern Training (iii)
(Status of residence: Technical Intern Training (iii)(b))

In order to make the shift from Technical Intern Training (i) to Technical Intern Training (ii), or from Technical Intern Training (ii) to Technical Intern Training (iii), the technical intern trainee must pass the specified Technical Intern Training Evaluation Examination (in the case of shift to Technical Intern Training (ii), a written test and practical test, and in the case of shift to Technical Intern Training (iii), a practical test).

The occupations and work eligible for transition to Technical Intern Training (ii) or Technical Intern Training (iii) (occupations and work subject to transfer) are specified by ordinances of the competent ministries.

List of Occupations and Work Subject to Transfer (Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare website) (In Japanese only)

Organizations that can conduct Technical Intern Training (iii) are limited to excellent supervising organization and implementing organizations that are deemed to satisfy the standards specified by the competent ministries. Refer to pages 12 to 14 below for specifics of the standards.

New Technical Intern Training Program (Information Materials on the Technical Intern Training Act Revised December 28, 2018 and Ordinances of the Competent Ministries(In Japanese only)
 
 

4. Process from Technical Intern Trainee Entry into JAPAN until Return to Home Country

The main details of the process from technical intern trainee entry into Japan until return to the trainee’s home country under the new Technical Intern Training Act is shown in the figure below.


Process from Technical Intern Trainee Entry into Japan until Return to Home Country

For technical intern trainees to be accepted under the supervising organization type program, the supervising organization must submit: an application for license of the supervising organization (the first time trainees are accepted), an application for accreditation of the technical intern training plan to the Organization for Technical Intern Training, and an application for a Certificate of Eligibility for the Status of Residence to the Immigration Bureau, in that order.

Work in Japan