Work in Japan: Japan Work Visa Requirements and Application Process.

Japan work visa is the best choice for all those who want to live and work abroad. More than one million foreign workers were working abroad in Japan at the end of last year which is a record in the history of Japan. Recent reports have revealed that Japan is facing a severe labor shortage in all significant sectors and wants to bring more than 345,000 foreign workers over the next five years. However, foreigners need to obtain Japan work permit to start work in Japan. We are going to share different types of Japan work visas and their application process. [Recommended: Germany Job Seeker Visa]

Types of Japan Work Visa:

There are four major categories of Japan work visa and work permits. The list of Japan work visas is given below:
1. New Specified Skills Work Visa
2. General Working Visa
3. Working Holiday Visa
4. High Skilled Professional Visa

Read Also How to get Japan Tourist Visa.

1.New Specified Skills Work Visa:

This a newly designed work visa, known as specified skill visa or blue collar work visa. The new specified skills work visa was launched on 1st April 2019. The visa is purely started to meet the labor shortage in Japan. Japanese government aims to bring nearly 345000 foreign workers through the new work visa program. The maximum duration of this visa is five years .

Key Features of New Specified Skills Work Visa:

  • You do not need any third party services like agents or recruitment agencies for this work visa.
  • Usually, some designated department of your home country like Overseas Department will conduct language and skills test for recruitment.
  • You have to pass Japanese language test and skills test to be eligible for this work visa.
  • Although this is a sponsored visa yet you do not have to find a job offer by yourself. The Overseas department of your home country will arrange job offer and sponsorship for your work visa.
  • You can live and work up to five years with initial visa. After five years, you can convert your visa into another type of visa which will allow you to live and work there forever and sponsor your family as well.
  • You do not need to be highly qualified. 10 years education like metric certificate will be enough, however, the more the better.

Eligible Occupations for New Work Visa System.

Foreigners can apply Specified Skills visa to work in 14 industrial sectors in Japan because these sectors need more workforce. Here is the list of fourteen industries:
1. Restaurants
2. Hotels
3. nursing care
4. building cleaning
5. agriculture
6. fishery
7. food and beverage
8. materials processing
9. industrial machinery
10. electronics and electric machinery
11. construction
12. shipbuilding
13. vehicle maintenance
14. airport ground handling & aircraft maintenance

Eligible Countries for New Specified Skills Visa:

Currently Japan has signed MOU with nine countries to import skilled workers. Test to assess skills, expertise and Japanese language proficiency, are being conducted in these nine countries. However, Japanese government is continuously in talks with other countries to make agreement for manpower import.  Here is the list of 10 countries:

  1. China
  2. Cambodia
  3. Indonesia
  4. Mongolia
  5. Myanmar
  6. Nepal
  7. Thailand
  8. Philippines
  9. Vietnam
  10. Pakistan

It doesn’t mean that people from other countries cannot apply Japan work visa. This restriction is only for a new blue-collar Specified skills work permit. Other countries citizens are still eligible to apply for different types of Japan work visa like High skilled professional work visa or general working visa.

Categories of New Work Visa

There are further two categories under this visa system.

  •  Specified Skill No. 1 Visa.
  • Specified Skills No. 2 Visa
  1. Specified Skills No.1

Everyone who is selected for New specified skills work visa, he/she will get “specified Skills No. 1” work visa. The duration of this visa will be up to five years with no possibility of renewals. Visa holder cannot sponsor his family to bring them in Japan. This visa will be issued to foreigners who are low skilled, less trained, less experienced and have less Japanese language skills.

  1. Specified Skills No.2

Foreign workers with Specified Skills No. 1 visa status will be able convert their visa into Specified Skills No. 2 Visa status provided that they have enough skills in Construction or Ship Building Field. This visa can be renewed unlimited times which gives the right to live and work in Japan forever. This visa holder can bring their families to Japan.

Read also How to get Romania Work Visa.

2.High Skilled Professional Visa:

Japan High Skilled Professional work visa is designed for highly educated foreign talent. This visa stream is working under the point based system. Educational qualification, experience, Japanese language skills, annual salary, age, and other achievements are the factors considered to award points. Generally, visa applicants need to get more than 70 points to be considered as a high skilled professional worker. This visa category brings more benefits than all other work visas. For example, High Skilled Professional work visa holder can sponsor his spouse, children, parents and also can bring some worker for household work.
High Skilled Professional Work visa is granted for up to five years, and it can be converted into the 2nd tier of the same permit. The second tier High Skilled Professional gives the right to live and work in Japan forever. However, this visa requires extraordinary qualification, experience, and other expertise. For More information about Japan Work Visa for High skilled professional please visit the official website of Japan immigration.

3.Japan General Work Visa:

It is known as Japan work visa. Duration of this visa ranges from three to five years. Foreigners who have certain skills and education, they can apply for this visa.

  1. Skilled labor

Mostly foreigners apply work visa under skilled labor category. All you have to have skills according to job position and job field you want to apply.

(Examples: chefs specializing in the food of a foreign country, animal trainers, pilots, sports trainers, sommeliers, etc.)

  1. Professor

(Examples: university professor, assistant professor, assistant, etc.)

  1. Artist

(Examples: composers, songwriters, artists, sculptors, craftspeople, photographers, etc.)

  1. Religious activities

(Examples: religious people such as monks, bishops, missionaries, etc.)

  1. Journalist

(Examples: newspaper journalists, magazine journalists, editors, news cameramen, announcers, etc.)

  1. Business manager

(Examples: company presidents, directors, etc.)

  1. Legal/Accounting services

(Examples: attorneys, judicial scriveners, public accountants, tax accountants, etc. certified in Japan)

  1. Medical services

(Examples: physicians, dentists, pharmacists, nurses, etc. certified in Japan)

  1. Researcher

(Examples: researchers, investigators, etc. at research institutes, etc.)

  1. Instructor

(Examples: teachers, etc. at elementary schools, intermediate schools and high schools)

  1. Engineer/Specialist in humanities/International services

(Examples: scientific engineers, IT engineers, foreign language teachers, interpreters, copywriters, designers, etc.)

  1. Intra-company transfer

(Examples: people transferred to the Japanese branch (head office of the same company, etc.)

  1. Entertainers

(Examples: musicians, actors, singers, dancers, sportspeople, models, etc.)

  1. Technical Intern Training

(Examples: Technical intern)

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There is no restriction of nationality to apply this type of Japan work permit. Citizen of most of the countries are eligible for this work visa.

4.Working Holiday Visa:

Japan working holiday visa is not available for all countries. There are 22 countries which have a mutual agreement with Japan for Japan working Holiday visa. Citizen of these countries with age between 18 to 30 can stay and work in Japan for up to 1 year. Age limit may vary for some countries. This program is actually designated for young talent. This visa holder can take part-time employment during their stay in Japan. Japan working holiday visa can be converted into other type of work visa. Citizens of the following countries and regions are eligible to get Japan Working Holiday visa.

  1. Argentina
    2. Australia
    3. Austria
    4. Canada
    5. Czech Republic
    6. Chile
    7. Denmark
    8. France
    9. Germany
    10. Hong Kong
    11. Hungary
    12. Iceland
    13. Ireland
    14. Korea
    15. New Zealand
    16. Norway
    17. Poland
    18. Portugal
    19. Slovakia
    20. Spain
    21. Taiwan
    22. United Kingdom
    Nationals of other cannot apply for Japan working holiday visa. To read more details about Japan Work Holiday visa, please visit Japan Immigration website.

How to apply for Japan work visa?

Let’s talk about Japan work visa requirements and application process. Please note this process is not for New Specified skills work visa. This process is true in case of High Skilled work visa, General work visa and Working Holidays visa.

Step 1 # Find Jobs in Japan for Foreigners:

It is the first and foremost requirement for Japan work visa same as many other countries work permits. Before you apply for a work visa, either a general working visa or highly skilled professional work visa, there must be an employer/company who is willing to give you a job in Japan. Many employers are looking for workforce from abroad, so there are much more opportunities for foreigners to find employment in Japan. There are many ways to find a job offer from Japan; you can visit Japan with a tourist visa or visitor visa and try to search for a job there. Japan immigration laws allow you to convert you visit visa into work visa once you have a job offer.
There are some job search websites where you can search for jobs in Japan which are available for foreigners. Here is a list of some trusted and high responsive job search websites:

Job Search Website:

Online job search takes long time to find job and job offer because of big competition yet it is a free way to find job in Japan. All you have to visit these job search websites one by one, create your free account, upload or create your CV/Resume and start searching job which you want to apply. If you Know Japanese language, your chances of selection will increase but still you can apply for English jobs.

  1. Japan Times
    2. GaijinPot
    3. Craigslist
    4. Yolo Japan
    5. Jobs In Japan
    6. Teach English in Japan

Step 2 # Certificate of Eligibility:

It is the second step for Japan work visa, and it comes after you have got a job offer from a company which is willing to recruit you for a job. Either Visa applicant or Japanese company/employer can for Certificate of eligibility at the Japan Immigration Bureau office. There is no fee of this certificate of eligibility, but it is mandatory to apply work visa or long term visa. Generally, the following documents are required to apply for a Certificate of Eligibility:
• Application form
• Photo
• A return-mail envelope affixed with stamp(s) worth 392 yen (for the recorded delivery purpose)
• Letter of Guarantee
• Other supporting documents to prove the purpose of the visa application.
Japan work Visa applicants who want to apply for a High skilled professional work visa, they have to submit point calculation form besides the above documents.
It is the responsibility of employer/company to provide his documents like a letter of guarantee, company documents, job offer/job contract, etc. for a certificate of eligibility.

Step 3 # Apply for Japan Visa:

Once Certificate of eligibility is issued, it is time to apply for Japan work visa at the Japanese embassy or consulate abroad. When Japan work visa is granted, the visa holder can travel to Japan within three months after the visa issuance date. Generally, Japan visa requirements include  visa application, photo, passport, certificate of eligibility. Embassy may demand more documents like Employer/company documents, job contract and visa applicants education documents.

Japan Tourist Visa to Work Visa:

It is possible to convert your Japan tourist visa into work visa when you are in Japan. You do not need to leave Japan to apply for a work visa. You can apply for a work visa while you are in Japan without leaving the country and can change your status there.
However, requirements are almost the same as you apply from outside Japan. There should be an employer/company willing to give you a job and job offer. Once there is a job offer, you need to apply for Certificate of eligibility. In the last step, you can apply for a work visa at the Japan immigration bureau office.
If you have the plan to change you japan visit visa into a work visa, you should start work visa application process soon after you reach Japan with your visit visa because Japan immigration may take a longer time to process your work visa application. Which mean your visit visa will finish, and you have to get an extension or have to leave Japan.

Japan Residence Card:

All long term visa holders who get visa through obtaining certificate of eligibility, they have to get Japan Residency Card. This Card is known as Zairyu.  This card is issued when travelers arrive at any of these airports: Narita, Haneda, Kansai, Nagoya, New Chitose, Hiroshima and Fukuoka. It is mandatory to carry residency card every time. Japan police and other law enforcement agencies can demand this card any time. Failure in showing card is considered violation of law which may create problems.

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