Career Guide

Automobile Repair and Maintenance Jobs in Japan

Automobile Repair and Maintenance Jobs in Japan

Though automotive repair and maintenance jobs used to be thought as get-your-hands-dirty and greasy, there's been a huge change in both the way that the workplace looks, but also the salary. As the automotive industry in Japan has been suffering a long-lasting and severe labor force shortage, employers are doing their best to attract and keep human resources, such as improving the working environment and welfare.

Japanese government also started a new visa, Specified skilled worker, to migrate foreign nationals to work in the automotive industry. This visa has no requirements in applicant's academic and career background, all needed is to pass skill evaluation and Japanese language tests in a basic level. This visa makes entering and living in Japan easier. In this article, we are going to introduce what automotive repair and maintenance jobs do and the salary, the possible visas, and how to get a Specified skilled visa.

Automobile repair and maintenance job description

The work contents include automobile everyday inspection and maintenance, regular inspection and maintenance, and disassembly. Sometimes driving the vehicle to the customer, ordering, setting up ETC will also be a part of tasks. Employers can be car garages, gas stations, dealers and car shops. Nowadays automotive mechanics are also demanded by bus companies, car rental companies.

The average monthly income is 293,900 yen, and the average bonus is 739,700 yen, so the annual income comes to around 4.26 million. If you become a group leader or manager, your salary will increase. Social insurance, tuition reimbursement, family allowances, commuting allowances and overtime allowances are mostly provided.

Visas allowed to work as automobile mechanic

According to Japanese immigration laws, only the following visa holders can be allowed to work as an automobile mechanic.

・Specified visa (Permanent resident, etc.)

Permanent resident, and those visa granted based on family status including Spouse or child of Japanese national, Spouse or child of Permanent resident, Long-term resident have no limitations on engaged activities so that their holders are allowed to work as an automobile mechanic.

・Working visa

・Engineer/Specialist in humanities/International services

An automobile mechanic can apply for the Engineer visa.

・Specified skilled worker

The newly created blue-collar visa in 2019, is established to attract foreigners to engage in the most human-needed 14 sectors in Japan, with automobile repair and maintenance industry included. Only Specified skilled worker No.1 is applicable for this industry, which allows a maximum stay of 5 years.

Ways to get a Specified skilled visa

Whether you are already in the automotive field or not yet, in Japan or outside Japan, if you are interested in working as an automotive mechanic in Japan, there are always ways to obtain a Specified skilled visa.

In Japan

Suppose that you are holding another visa and staying in Japan now, all you need to do is to find a job and sign an employment contract with an Accepting Organization, then apply for a change of status of residence to Specified skilled visa. However skill and Japanese language tests are required to pass before job hunting.

Technical Intern Trainee

If you have completed a Technical Intern Training No.2 in the automotive field, you are exempted from those tests. You can prepare to find an Accepting Organization directly.

Else (Automotive mechanic school students, etc.)

A JLPT (Japanese Language Proficiency Test) N4 certification or over is needed for the language level. As the specified skills evaluation test of the automotive field, which will be discussed later, isn't held in Japan currently, you can choose to pass the tests of the National Automotive Mechanic License Class 3. It will be difficult to pass the test by self-learning as not only skills but also Japanese proficiency in technical terms will be checked.

Entering an automotive mechanic school first will be a good idea. You can both learn and practice technical skills and improve language level there, and transform into an actual mechanic job after graduation. What's more, students of schools accredited by the Japanese Government (The Ministry of Land Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism) can be exempted from the tests and obtain Class 3 license or beyond by the time they graduate.

Outside Japan

If you are outside Japan now, all you need to do is to sign an employment contract with an Accepting Organization, then apply for a Certificate of Eligibility. Of course skills and Japanese language tests are also needed to pass.

Used to be a Technical Intern Trainee in Japan

Same as before, you are exempted from the tests if you have completed a Technical Intern Training No.2 in the automotive field.

Else (Specified skills evaluation test)

A JFT-Basic (Japan Foundation Test for Basic Japanese) or JLPT (Japanese Language Proficiency Test) N4 language ability is required.

Skills test are organized by the Japan Automobile Service Promotion Association. The purpose of this test is to check the examinee's level of expertise, skill and Japanese language proficiency to engage in automobile repair and maintenance as mechanics in Japan. The examinee should be over the age of 17 when taking the test.

Currently this test is only held in the Philippines. Test dates can be checked on the official website. The test consists of 2 sections in a Computer Based Testing format: Theory and Practical. Question format for the former is true/false, while the latter is based on several judgment tests to make correct distinctions using figures and illustrations. There are 30 questions in 60 minutes for the Theory test and 3 tasks with 9 questions in total in 20 minutes for the Practical test. Examinees should answer 65% of the Theory questions and 60% of the Practical questions or over correctly to pass.

The scope of the test will be the following contents about automobile chassis and engines.

Theory: elementary knowledge of structure, function and handling laws; inspection, repair and adjustment; structure, function and handling laws of the examinee for maintenance, measuring equipment and tools; nature and methods of materials and fuel oils.

Practical: simple basic work; disassembly, assembly, simple inspection and adjustment; simple repair; handling of simple maintenance tester; measuring equipment and tools.