I have been interviewed regarding taking a contract position in Japan in a strategic management project, but have not worked in Japan since the 1980s, so have some questions. Perhaps some of my colleagues have some experience they can share.
1) What is the current state of visa requirements for a US citizen? The position will be on a three-month rolling contract, which may end up long-term. The position might be structured as "freelance," or I could be an employee of basically a temp agency (of either a US-based entity or a Japan-based entity). I understand that lead times for a sponsored work visa are VERY long at present... perhaps up to a year. Does anybody have experience with a "Highly Skilled Professional" visa? (https://www.visasjapan.com/visa-types/#professional) talks about the Highly Skilled Profesisonal visa, but does anybody on this list have experience with this?
2) Does anybody have any advice about ex-pat income tax? How does double-taxation work?
Right now the only foreigners allowed to enter Japan on new visas are the following:
It’s anyone’s guess as to how long these restrictions will continue. Given the glacial pace of vaccinations and the current level of freaking out about mutant variants of covid, I suspect they won’t be eased significantly until the fall, maybe not even until early next year. Then it’s anyone’s guess as to how long the visa backlogs will be.
On taxes, you have to file both Japanese and US tax returns as a US citizen living in Japan. You get a foreign earned income exclusion in the US which knocks the first $100k or so of wage income off of your US tax return, and you get a foreign tax credit for Japanese tax paid on any income outside of the exclusion. So in essence, you only pay Japanese tax on the first $100k or so in wages, and any other income is ultimately taxed at the higher of the two countries’ rates (if the US rate is higher, you would pay taxes to Japan at the regular Japan rate and then pay the difference to the US). This is a highly simplified explanation, so you may want to talk to a CPA if you have any kind of complicated tax situation.
Daniel Joseph ("Joe") Jones | Law
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Wow. This is very useful stuff.
Thank you Joe!
In case anybody is interested, attached is the scoring sheet for qualifying for a 5-year visa for Japan as a highly skilled worker (researcher, executive, etc). You have to score 70 points to qualify.