Japan is the third largest economy in the world after the USA and China. Its industrial system is among the most developed in the world, with the automotive and electronics sectors being the most important. GDP per capita is more or less the same as England’s. The unemployment rate is very low, at 2.5%. But if you are toying with the idea of working in Japan, you need to know that it is not easy.
Japan is struggling with an inexorable aging population and labor for its industries is starting to become scarce, so the government is trying to encourage immigration to fill labor shortages in some sectors: Construction, Health Care, High Tech., etc.
Working in Japan
To work in Japan, you need a visa. There are different types of work visas, but in order to apply for them, you need to find a Japanese company that will sponsor you.
The sectors where it is much easier to get sponsorship are:
1.Native speakers, there are many private language schools in Japan
2. Chefs of ethnic cuisine (Italian, French, Indian, etc)
It is only possible to find employment if you have high professional qualifications. In fact, to hire you, a company must prove that it needs your skills and has not found a Japanese person who can do the job.
To get a work visa, you must also have a university degree or at least 10 years of work experience. Japanese language skills are not required, but you must know English.
To obtain a work visa, you must first apply for a document called a Certificate of Eligibility. This document is issued by the Japanese immigration authorities at the request of your sponsor.
Once you receive the eligibility certificate (usually within 2-3 months), you must contact the visa office of a Japanese embassy to obtain the visa.
One option for those who wish to work in Japan is the Jet Program, an exchange program sponsored by CLAIR (Council of Local Authorities for International Relations). Foreigners from around the world can work as international relations coordinators (CIRs) in Japan for one year. To apply, you must have excellent Japanese language skills.
In Japan, the job search begins a year before graduation. So if you are interested in a job in a Japanese company, you can check their website for internship or job opportunities and send your application a year before graduation, because Japanese companies prefer to plan ahead.
For those interested in working in Japan during the winter season, I would like to point out Nisade, which hires foreign employees.
Working in Japan useful resources
- Guidebook Japan, living and work guidebook for foreigners
- TOKYO EMPLOYMENT SERVICE CENTER FOR FOREIGNERS, useful website
- THE FOREIGN WORKERS’ HANDBOOK, guide about working in Japan
Job search websites in Japan
- We expat jobs, you can search for a job depending on your to your Japanese skills
- Gaijipot, (in English)
- Daijob, (in English)
- Yolo, job vacancies for foreigners, in hospitality
- CareerEngine, bilingual jobs in Japan
- Jobsinjapan, job vacancies and information
- Rikunabi, one of the most popular job boards in Japan (in Japanese)
- Careercross, job search website
- Workinjapan, job vacancies and useful advice
- Tokyoconnection, job search website
- Headhunter, (in Japanese)
- MHLW (Tokyo Employment Service Centre for Foreigners)
- EU-Japan Centre, job posting
Work in Japan, conclusion
The best way for anyone who wants to live and work in Japan is to learn Japanese in their home country and achieve at least an N4 level. Then go to Japan and take a Japanese course ($6,000/year), working part-time in the meantime (often the school takes care of the job search itself) to make a living and practice the language. After a year of study, or in any case when you have reached a good level of Japanese proficiency, you can start looking for work.
I do not recommend that you go to Japan to look for work without having a work visa. It is possible to find a job, but keep in mind that this is illegal and an expat who works illegally will be arrested and expelled from the country and not allowed to return for five years.
Those who want to move to Japan should keep in mind that Japan is one of the most monocultural and isolated countries in the world. This is also reflected in the contradictions of his immigration policy, just think about the fact that there is not even a special immigration department.
Japan is also stingy toward those seeking refuge for humanitarian reasons. In 2017, it accepted 20 refugees out of more than 11,000 applications.
In recent years, those wishing to immigrate have used Japanese language schools. These schools serve as a starting point for obtaining a long-term visa to Japan. However, many of those who come to Japan with the hope of achieving the “Japanese dream” are unaware of the potential difficulties: the Japanese legal system, workers’ rights, harsh working conditions and strict workplace expectations can be a really big obstacle for foreign workers. Be aware that Japan is not an easy country to emigrate to.