Working in Japan
Working part-time as a student
Applying for the work permit
In order to be able to work in Japan, it is necessary to apply for a work permit (Permission to engage in activity other than that permitted in status of residence previously granted. The application form can be downloaded from these links [PDF] or [Excel] .
There are two ways to proceed with the application:
- Before receiving your residence card: fill out the application form before coming to Japan and give it to the immigration officer at the airport.
- After receiving your residence card: if you already have a residence card but did not receive your work permit, you have to apply for it by filling out the form and submitting it to the immigration bureau.
It is recommended that you apply for a work permit at the airport because if you wait until you receive your residence card and are already in the country, it can take up to a month for the work permit to be issued. Once your work permit is approved, the immigration officer will put a sticker on your passport and stamp the bottom space on the back of your residence card with the work permit stamp. Please be aware that your work permit will become invalid once you leave your school, since you will no longer be doing activities related to being a student. Additionally, in order to have this work permit when renewing your residence card, it is necessary to submit the application form to the immigration bureau along with other renewal documents. For more information, please visit the Immigration Services Agency of Japan’s dedicated webpage here.
Working limitations and restricted jobs
The maximum working hour as a student is 28 hours a week. Moreover, as a student, you are not allowed to partake in jobs related to adult entertainment and sex trade. These types of jobs would include the following:
- Bars (restaurants that serve alcohol are fine)
- Hostess bars or host clubs
- Video game arcades
- Pachinko parlors
- Love hotels
- Adult goods or video stores
- Massage parlors
Please be aware that just working in the same venue is considered illegal even if you do not engage in any kind of inappropriate acts, just working in the same venue is considered illegal therefore you cannot work at these establishments even as a janitor or kitchen staff.
Possible English-speaking jobs
Besides the prohibited employment mentioned above, students can work in any postings from being clerks at convenience stores to private tutoring. However, these jobs usually require that you can communicate in Japanese. For those who cannot speak Japanese, some possible jobs could include being the teaching assistants or research assistants at your university. It is also recommended that you take a look at job postings as an English communicator at reputable organizations such as ISA, LBE, or Tomonokai. For other no-Japanese part-time jobs, please have a look at the GaijinPot and Work Japan website.
Be aware of scams!
There has been an increase in scam activities where people will give you money in exchange for borrowing your personal documents. They could use your personal documents to conduct illegal activities so, under no circumstances should you give anything with your name on it to another person. These personal documents includes:
- Residence card
- Bank book
- ATM card
- Driving license
Organized crime groups also target foreign students to carry out simple tasks in exchange for money such as:
- Withdrawing money using someone else’s ATM card
- Ordering products online using someone else’s information and payment information
- Receiving packages for someone else and giving it to them later
Please be careful and don’t fall for such things. There are plenty of ways to make honest money in Japan, so only work with reputable companies. If you are unsure about job offers, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us. We are more than happy to consult you! You can reach us through our Facebook Page, Telegram Channel, and email.
Full-time jobs after graduation
When it comes to working in Japan, the most important thing to keep in mind is recruitment. Job hunting should start as soon as recruitments are available. After all, the early bird catches the worm and Japanese students are early… in fact, Japanese students start job hunting so early it is the norm to secure a posting one year before graduation, not after graduating. That is to say, if you are doing your bachelor's degree then you should start your job hunting at the end of your third year. If you are in your master's, begin looking for a job posting at the end of your first year. So keep an eye out for recruitments and apply as soon as you can! But where can you seek out recruitments? Well, here are some useful links from our alumni:リクナビ, マイナビ, globalcareer.com and job.connectiu. Companies are always looking for more human resources through educational institutes so it’s also important to keep up with university news about recruitments as well. In fact, some university departments even offer recommendations! They also provide guidance on the career and job hunting process so it’s useful to connect with them.
Knowing Japanese is a huge advantage
This is a no-brainer; we are living in Japan, of course knowing Japanese is beneficial. So, for those who want to work in Japan, it’s good to take Japanese language courses concurrent with your major! Better yet, learn (a bit of) Japanese before you move here. It's always helpful to know the language considering the fact that Japanese society as a whole is not very English-friendly. But don’t be discouraged, there are English-speaking companies out there! Big tech companies, international firms, and some startup businesses use English as their primary mode of communication. However, you’ll need to actively look for information yourself as it’s not possible to apply to those companies through recruitments.
Japanese work permit
Graduates who are entering the workforce must remember to apply for a work permit or employment visa as the residence card with ‘Student’ status becomes ineffective immediately after graduation. Japan has a lot of different types of work and long-term visas to apply for based on the employment and reason for living in Japan. The type of work visa you need depends on the type of job that you have. While requirements may vary from visa to visa, some general requirements when applying for a work permit in Japan are:
- an offer of employment from a Japanese company
- visa application form
- Certificate of Eligibility (COE)
- CV and original university degrees or certificates (depending on the type of visa)
Certificate of Eligibility
The Certificate of Eligibility is an essential document when applying for any Japanese visa. This certificate is issued by the Immigration Services Agency of Japan. You can submit this form either in person or you can mail it. To obtain this certificate, there are some documents you must submit:
- completed application form
- passport-sized photograph
- filled out and stamped the return envelope.
Again, depending on your employment, there are additional requirements to fulfill. For example, those applying for a researcher visa need to provide the following:
- material showing the outline of the recipient organization
- diploma, CV, and other documents certifying your career position
- documentation certifying the activity, its duration, position, and remuneration.
Meanwhile, those in the engineering field will need to show:
- copies of the company registration and a statement of profit and loss of the recipient organization
- materials showing the business substance of the recipient organization
- diploma or a certificate of graduation with a major in the subject regarding the activity for the visa being applied for
- documents certifying your professional career
- documents certifying the activity, its duration, position, and the remuneration.
For a complete list of documents required for each Japan work permit visa application form, please visit the Japanese government’s website. Once you receive your COE, it’s time to apply for a new residence card and a new chapter of your life awaits you!