Mai is a student at a Japanese language school.
Sensei, I have a question.
Sure, what is it?
I just heard that the immigration law has changed and a pre-college student visa does not exist anymore.
Right, the residential status of ryugaku, or college student, and that of shugaku, or pre-college student, were integrated to one as of July 1 this year. It was one of the changes included in the amendment of the Immigration Control Act, which was enacted last July.
Does that mean I have to change my pre-college student visa to the college student visa?
No, you don’t. The Immigration Bureau says that current students with the “pre-college student” status do not have to do anything unless they change their activities during the stay.
Mai’s classmate Sarah walks by and joins the conversation.
I have a cousin who is coming to Japan this fall to study Japanese at a Japanese language school. So his status of residence will be “college student,” and not “pre-college student.”
Right. But my understanding is that the application process and required documents are the same as before.
What is the major change after the integration of these two visa statuses?
Before the amendment, there was a difference between college students and pre-college students in maximum work hours as a part- timer that are legally permitted. Under the changed law, every student is allowed to work for up to 28 hours per week.
I see. Are we expecting any other changes due to this amendment of the immigration law?
I heard that the alien registration certificate will be discontinued and a new residence card will be issued instead. It won’t happen for a while, though.
It is really hard to keep up with new information.
The Immigration Bureau provides detailed information about the changes on its website. It might be difficult for you to fully understand the contents though. You can always call one of the Foreign Residents Information Centers or the Consultation Support Center for Foreign Residents. They can answer your questions in foreign languages.
I will give them a call. Thank you.