How to Choose a Japanese Immigration Lawyer for Your Business

8 October 2021
 Categories: , Blog

If you run a global company and want to establish a presence in Japan, then you might need help from an experienced immigration lawyer. You might want to bring Japanese employees into your U.S. offices. Or, you might want people to move the other way on either a temporary or permanent basis.

The right lawyer can help you navigate your business's immigration needs in both countries. What should you look for before you choose an attorney?

In-Depth Regional Expertise

While any immigration lawyer can technically give you advice, you should focus on attorneys who have relevant regional expertise. A lawyer or firm who has immigration experience both in and out of Japan will be more helpful to you than one who only works on immigration cases coming into the United States. 

They will understand the legal systems of both countries in more depth. They will also be able to help you learn about cultural differences on both personal and corporate levels.

Look for lawyers who can speak and write Japanese. If the attorney studied law in both Japan and the U.S.A., then this is a bonus. Some immigration firms have offices or associate relationships in Japan. Again, this is useful, especially if you'll send some of your home employees to work or settle in the country.

Relevant Immigration Experience

It's important to check what kind of experience an immigration lawyer has. For example, some attorneys might specialize in personal immigration cases. They might not have handled many, if any, commercial immigration cases.

If your Japanese immigration plans involve moving employees between the two countries, then you need specialized help. Make sure your lawyer has worked on business immigration cases in the past. Ask which companies they have represented.

However, you should also make sure to pick a lawyer who has experience in managing personal and family-based immigration cases. You might need to arrange visas or naturalization for your employees' families at some point.

Appropriate Association Membership

As well as general licenses and bar accreditation, you should check that potential immigration attorneys are members of key law associations. For example, lawyers in this sector can apply to join the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA).

This membership tells you that a lawyer has a serious immigration focus. They want to make sure that their legal knowledge in this field is current and relevant. They can keep up to date with any changes in U.S./Japanese immigration laws.

To get started, talk to a Japanese immigration lawyer to see if they are a good fit for your company.