Visa, Residence Status and Working in Japan

1.Visa and Residence Status

A “Visa” is an authorization given to foreign nationals by governments which permits them to stay in a country. To work in Japan, a Japanese Working Visa is required. On the other hand, “Residence Status” refers to the category of status under which you are permitted to stay in Japan and is assigned by immigration services.

 

2.The Permitted Job Types and Required Residence Status

In Japan, there are primarily two types of employment: regular and temporary employment. Regular employment means to work under a contract where the working arrangement is not limited to any period of time, whereas with temporary employment, your contract limits you to a certain period of time.

Within this, the work environments foreign nationals can work in and the residence status required to do so are categorized into three:

 

2-1.Work in Corporations and Public Institutions → “Specialized/Technical Field”

To work in regular employment (jobs such as manager of a company, engineer, researcher, professor invited from abroad, foreign language teacher, etc.) you are required to obtain a residence status which corresponds to work in the “Specialized/Technical Field”, under categories such as “Professor”, “Researcher”, “Business Manager”, “Engineer/Specialist in Humanities/International Services”.

2-2.Part-Time Work → “Student”, “Permanent Resident”, “Spouse of Permanent Resident”

For temporary, part-time employment in convenience stores, supermarkets, izakaya (etc.), one must have the residence status of “Student”, “Permanent Resident” or “Spouse of Permanent Resident”. Those who have a “Student” visa and are limited to 28 hours of work per week are not permitted to be employed in manual labour.

2-3.Manual Labour → “Technical Intern Training”, “Permanent Resident”, “Spouse of Permanent Resident”

The large majority of those working manual labour jobs in Japan (farming, fishing, textile factories, construction, etc.) do so under the residence status of “Technical Intern Training”.

 

Working in Japan can be quite strictly categorised.

As well as finding the right job, it is very important to choose the correct Residence Status, as the contracts you are entitled to work under are highly dependent on this.