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Amendment of Immigration Law
Status of Residence: Integration of College Student and Pre-College Student Visas

Mai is a student at a Japanese language school.
After the class, she asks a question about her visa to her teacher.

Mai
Sensei, I have a question.
Teacher
Sure, what is it?
Mai
I just heard that the immigration law has changed and a pre-college student visa does not exist anymore.
Teacher
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.
Mai
Does that mean I have to change my pre-college student visa to the college student visa?
Teacher
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.

Sarah
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.”
Teacher
Right. But my understanding is that the application process and required documents are the same as before.
Sarah
What is the major change after the integration of these two visa statuses?
Teacher
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.
Sarah
I see. Are we expecting any other changes due to this amendment of the immigration law?
Teacher
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.
Mai
It is really hard to keep up with new information.
Teacher
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.
Mai
I will give them a call. Thank you.

Changes to the Immigration Control Act!: New System of Residence Management
http://www.immi-moj.go.jp/english/newimmiact/newimmiact_english.html
Immigration Bureau Information Centers
http://www.immi-moj.go.jp/english/info/index.html
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