【Case Study】How a technical intern trainee obtains a spouse visa after international marriage
Ms. A, a Vietnamese female, came to Japan as a technical intern trainee. Ms. A met a Japanese colleague, Mr. B, and started to date and finally got married.
After getting married to Ms. A, Mr. B heard that Ms. A had to return to her home country after completing her training program because she came to Japan as a technical intern trainee. On the other hand, he also heard that there were cases where the change from a technical intern training visa to a spouse visa is permitted after international marriage.
Strongly wishing to continue living with Ms. A in Japan, Mr. B came to us to ask if there was any way to change her status of residence to a spouse visa.
In this article, we will describe how a technical intern trainee obtains a spouse visa after international marriage.
1. The number of international marriage with a technical intern trainee is increasing
As of June 2019, it is said that there are more than 280,000 technical intern trainees in Japan. Many people may feel that recently there are more opportunities to see and interact with foreigners than before. Meanwhile, the number of international marriage cases between a technical intern trainee and a Japanese person is increasing.
We will talk about how we handle cases when a technical intern trainee would like to get a spouse visa after international marriage.
2. What is the technical internship program?
What is the technical internship program in the first place? Many people may have heard the term, but only few people know what that is.
According to the website of the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare, “The objective of the Program of Technical Intern Training for Foreign Nationals is for Japan to promote ‘the development of human resource’ that will support the economic development of developing countries, etc. by transferring skills, technology, and knowledge to developing countries while playing an active role as a developed country and achieving harmonious development with the international community.”
In other words, the purpose of the technical internship program is to have technical intern trainees acquire Japanese skills, technology, and knowledge, and for them to take advantage of such skills, etc., after they return to their home country, and to play an active role in the economic development of their home countries. This means that, under the technical internship system, technical internship trainees are expected to return to their home countries after completion of the training program so they can transfer the skills, etc. to their country.
Then, what decision would immigration bureaus make when a technical intern trainee apply to change to a spouse visa without returning to his/her home country? Based on the purpose of the technical internship program, do you think that application for the change from a technical intern training visa to a spouse visa is always denied?
3. The Immigration Act forbids technical intern trainees to apply for a spouse visa!?
Under the current system of technical internship program, technical intern trainees are expected to return to their home countries. Therefore, you can say that in practice, generally, the application for permission to change the status of residence from “Technical Intern Training” is not accepted.
As an exception, the change from a technical intern training visa to a spouse visa is occasionally permitted when humanitarian consideration is required, such as when the spouse of a technical intern trainee is pregnant or has already given birth to a child.
In order to change from a technical intern training visa to a spouse visa after international marriage, the following requirements must be satisfied in addition to the regular spouse visa requirements.
(1) The supervising organization has submitted a report regarding the applicant’s withdrawal from the technical internship program; and
(2) Notification of leaving the program has been submitted based on Article 19-16, item (i) of the Immigration Act.
In addition, you may be requested to submit written consent regarding your applying for change of status of residence without leaving Japan from the organization in your home country that has sent you to Japan, as well as the supervising organization and the organization that provides training.
As mentioned above, documents required to apply for a spouse visa are different for technical intern trainees from regular cases of international marriage.
4. Do activities during the technical internship program affect spouse visa application?
Even if you choose to let your spouse return to the home country temporarily and bring him/her back to Japan later, you still need to be aware of whether your spouse has successfully completed the technical internship program.
In the examination by immigration bureaus, the past situation in Japan affects the judgement regarding the issuance of the Certificate of Eligibility. Accordingly, the completion of the technical internship program is very important when obtaining a spouse visa.
Then, what happens to those who have quit technical internship program or escaped in the middle of the program? Even if a couple vow eternal love to each other, can’t they obtain a spouse visa if the spouse has quit the technical internship program or has run away?
As mentioned above, the past situation of residence in Japan affects the judgement of the immigration bureau, so those who have quit the technical internship program or escaped are subject to stricter examination, comparing to regular cases.
Therefore, if you do not take care of this point, the risk of rejection of a spouse visa will stay high.
5. Points of examination pertaining to spouse visas
In order to obtain a spouse visa, it is necessary to know the examination points.
There are several examination points, but the following 2 points are important.
(1) Substance of marriage
Whether the process from the encounter to the marriage are true and the substance of marriage really exists.
(2) Financial foundation
Whether the spouse has a stable financial foundation to continue to live in Japan.
Furthermore, technical intern trainees are not expected to return to Japan, considering the purpose of the technical internship program. There are also cases where international marriage is used as a convenient way to work in Japan, as salaries are higher in Japan. Japanese companies appreciate those who have learned under technical internship program. For those reasons, examination concerning marriage substance for technical intern trainees tends to be stricter than regular cases.
However, please be assured that there are many cases of spouse visa permission when applicants can prove the fulfillment of special requirements imposed to technical intern trainees in addition to the regular spouse visa requirements stipulated by the Immigration Act.
6. The process of the change from a technical intern training visa to a spouse visa after international marriage
In the case of Ms. A, although she was not pregnant, we found that the couple were married after a sufficient period of relationship.
After careful consideration, we figured that it was possible to prepare necessary documents and so we decided to apply for the change from a technical intern training visa to a spouse visa.
Since we could secure time for preparation for application and could obtain necessary documents from the relevant supervising organization, Ms. A managed to get a spouse visa.
Currently, the couple are happily living together in Japan.
Sometimes, like in this case, technical intern trainees can obtain spouse visas, but technical intern trainees who cannot prepare required documents may be forced to leave Japan and to be separated from their spouses.
However, there are many cases where such temporary return leads to an early solution, so careful consideration is required when changing from a technical intern training visa to a spouse visa.
7. Summary of how a technical intern trainee obtains a spouse visa after international marriage
In this article, we explained the relationship between technical intern trainees and spouse visas, which are expected to increase in the future.
“What should I do to obtain a spouse visa for my spouse who is a technical intern trainee?”
“What happens if I quit the technical internship program before completing the program?”
“Can a technical intern trainee change his/her visa to a spouse visa?”
The summary is as follows.
(1) There is a risk of receiving non-permission when changing from a technical intern training visa to a spouse visa, so careful consideration is necessary.
If you apply for the change from a technical intern training visa to a spouse visa, you must remember to coordinate with the organization in your home country which sent you to Japan, as well as the supervising organization and the organization implementing the training.
(2) In cases of pregnancy or where childbirth is imminent, the change from a technical intern training visa to a spouse visa is occasionally permitted.
Even in such case, you still need to coordinate with the organization in your home country which sent you to Japan, as well as the supervising organization and the organization implementing the training.
(3) If you want to lower the risk of non-permission of a spouse visa, leaving Japan once can be an option.
Many supervising organizations do not like when you stay in Japan and change to a spouse visa. In some cases, therefore, you may be able to resolve the problem quickly by returning to your home country and then try to obtain a spouse visa.
When applying for the change from a technical intern training visa to a spouse visa, there are many points to consider, which differ depending on each case.
A spouse visa is one of the visas which are so important that applicants cannot fail to obtain.
We hope that this article will serve as a reference for couples aiming to obtain a spouse visa after international marriage between a Japanese and a technical intern trainee.