Work Visa in Japan
This section contains general information on the requirements, timeline, procedure and characteristics of work visas in Japan, for new hires, transfer or relocation of foreign workers and their families to Japan.
The Immigration Law of Japan provides for almost 3o types of visas, all classified based on the nature of activities permitted under the visa or a certain relationship between the holder and the Japanese country or specific Japanese citizens.
Those who work or plan to work in Japan will have the option of applying for a working visa based on their respective work activities. However, it is important to note that the Japanese Immigration law does not issue work visas for all jobs in Japan – the issuance of work visas are limited to only those that require specialized skills or the specialized knowledge of non-Japanese citizens, and as a result, work visas are not issued for jobs that are considered (in the view of the Immigration Law) to be relatively simple tasks, or those that do not require special skills and talent from the foreign community. This is a decision based on the Japanese Immigration policy to only invite the foreign working community to engage in certain roles, with the aim of protecting the work opportunities of Japanese nationals in areas where international skills are not required.
In practice, work visas are issued for a wide range of positions requiring international skills, but historically have excluded construction site workers, waiter/waitress positions and cashier operators, etc.
General Work Visa Requirements
In order for an applicant to obtain a work visa in Japan, the following three requirements must be fulfilled:
- a) The work description must be one for which a work visa will be granted.
- b) The applicant must fulfill certain requirements relating to him/herself, the specific requirements of which will vary according to each position (job description). Typically, these requirements relate to the applicant’s educational history, work history, working conditions or any combination of the foregoing.
- c) For the majority of work visas, a “visa sponsor” is necessary. This is generally a term referring to the employer in Japan (note: does not necessarily need to be an employment agreement, as long as there is a regular, direct contracting relationship between the parties). In other words, the applicant must have a specific job or job offer from a Japanese entity that is willing to sponsor the visa application, and the necessary requirements must be met.
- d) The visa sponsor must fulfill the general requirements as an adequate visa sponsor. For example, it must provide certain documents relating to its taxes, financial status and business, etc.
List of Work Visa Categories
● Specialist in Humanities and International Services
The most common work visa for various office roles, including finance, sales, legal, HR, marketing, PR, graphic designer, interior designer, import/export, international coordinator, account manager and more.
Also a common work visa for various engineering and IT related roles (as of April 2015, these top two visa categories have become combined to be called the “Engineer / Specialist in Humanities / International Services” visa, but the requirements will still remain separate depending on the specific role in question
● Intra-Company Transfer
A working visa for employees relocating to Japan, within the same company Group. For example, an employee transferred from the overseas headquarters to a subsidiary or branch office, etc. in Japan
● Investor / Business Manager Visa
For company representatives, CEO and other officers, executive and management positions. Generally is the appropriate visa for representatives of a self-owned business
● Skilled Labor
A working visa for chefs, patissiers, sommeliers and other specialist roles
● Highly Skilled Foreign Professional Visa
A special, longer visa with preferential treatment for high profile candidates meeting the criteria for a standard work visa plus alpha (point-based evaluation based on salary, age, educational and work history and qualifications, etc.)
● AND OTHERS
Please refer to each of the subcategories for more details.
Work Visa Procedure
A) Certificate of Eligibility
Explanation of procedures to obtain a new work visa for those who are not yet based in Japan (but who plan to be in the near future)
B) Visa Extension
Procedures for those who are already residing in Japan under a certain work visa, who wish to extend their visas with the same category
C) Visa Change
Procedures for those who are already residing in Japan under a resident visa (work visa, family visa, student visa, etc.), who wish to change jobs and thus need to change to a different work visa category
Visa consulting, visa structuring and application services
Contact us for free initial consulting or to inquire about visa options and services. Whether you are an individual with new career plans or questions/concerns regarding your visa status, or a corporation seeking a smooth and efficient solution to facilitate your hiring process or in search of an accredited agency to submit visa applications on behalf of your employees, contact us to discuss your needs. Personalized visa solutions and services by an accredited Immigration agency available in both native English and Japanese.