See the original story in Japanese.
Tokyo-based Residence recently unveiled the open beta version of One Visa, the online visa applications management platform. It allows Japanese companies to submit visa applications for their employees and manage when their visas will become expired and must apply for a new one. Usage fee is 40,000 yen per company. Residence also announced that it has recently raised 36 million yen (about $32.4 million) from Primal Capital and Skyland Ventures.
The platform allows companies to manage the profiles of their foreign employees. It will notify the personnel department when their visa expiration timing comes closer, then tell them automatically what kind of visa will be needed and take them into an automated visa application flow. Users can download forms in need for their visa application simply by asking questions, or can even ask a paralegal to conduct the entire process through the platform instead of doing themselves.
According to the company, there’s an increased demand in managing visa applications for foreign employees at Japanese companies as the population of foreign visitors and residents in Japan are on the rise. About 1.6 million visa applications were made in Japan in 2015, which is 6% higher than its previous year’s stats, while we also see a 18% increase in the number of foreign employees in Japan. There’s also the Japanese Health, Welfare and Labor Ministry’s predication that the population of foreign workers in Japan will hit 2.06 million by the year 2020.
Meanwhile, the visa application process requires expertise in application procedures and selecting a relevant visa type, as well as preparing relevant documents to attach for submission, while language barriers are also a huge obstacle in this process. It usually takes several weeks for preparing attaching documents only, and is likely to force applicants to wait for long hours at the immigration office.
The One Visa platform is now being used as closed beta by about 10 companies from restaurant chain operators and Internet service companies to financial institutions. Going forward, the team plans to enhance the service that will even allow users to report the employment status of foreign workers to the Japanese Health, Welfare and Labor Ministry.
Albert Okamura, founder and CEO of Residence, is an entrepreneur in his 20s, originally from Peru. Following his work experience at the Japanese immigration office where he has processed 20,000 visa applications, he made up his mind to tackle this issue.
Translated by Masaru Ikeda
Edited by “Tex” Pomeroy