Labor insurance, social insurance and pensions have come under stricter scrutiny, even for work visa renewals.

Due to the impact of the novel coronavirus, many foreign workers have lost their jobs. Many of these foreigners have been dismissed without proper labor management and have ended up staying illegally or being forced to return home unwillingly.

Therefore, the Immigration Services Agency has started to scrutinize companies’ labor management abilities more strictly, and in some cases, even long-term employees are unable to renew their visas.

Visa renewal difficulties

When applying for a work visa extension, the immigration office will send a “「資料提出通知書」Notice of Document Submission" requesting additional documents. Recently, the submission of legally required documents such as wage ledgers, attendance records, and documents related to enrollment in labor insurance, social insurance, and pension plans has been required.

The immigration office checks whether the employer has properly created and saved these legally required documents, and in particular, whether deductions for labor insurance, social insurance, and pensions are being made in the wage ledger.

If these documents cannot be submitted or if there are significant flaws in the content submitted, the renewal of the residence period may become impossible.

The immigration office’s stance seems to have changed

Until now, the immigration office has taken the stance that “even if labor management and welfare are not adequate, the worker is not at fault," and has allowed the renewal of the residence period. However, there are cases where foreign workers whose visas are not under their control cannot renew their visas due to labor management issues.

This is clearly a change in the immigration office’s stance.

I believe this will gradually have an effect. Until now, many companies owned by foreigners did not have proper labor management. Simply put, many foreign owners were ignorant, indifferent, and negligent about laws and systems such as the Labor Standards Act, labor insurance, social insurance, and pensions.

But now, not only their employees’ visas but also their own visas are at risk, and they are forced to take labor management more seriously.

It is likely that the enrollment rate in social insurance will improve in the future.