If you wish to work in Japan, you may have heard a lot about Japan's severe labor force shortage out of its aging population and that foreign labors are highly demanded. But you may not know that construction is one of the supertight industries. This comes out by an infrastructure boom ahead of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics (postponed to 2021), and Japanese government's heavily spending on disaster relief for recovering from a slew of typhoons and flooding.
What's more, construction site work looks not appetizing to Japanese younger workers so that the industry is suffering from the pain of aging workers. There is data showing that people age 60 or older now make up about a fourth of the construction industry's skilled workers.
Japanese government has established a new residence status called Specified skilled worker to attract foreign workers into certain industries with construction included. And Specified skilled worker (ii) visa, which has unlimited renewal, is only applicable for construction and shipbuilding industry. So a construction site work may lead you a permanent residence in Japan.
Let's get a knowledge about what construction site workers do and how much they get paid in Japan.
Construction workers perform all construction and civil engineering work such as mansions, commercial buildings, hospitals, parks, roads, bridges, and create rich living spaces and develop social infrastructure such as railroads, dams, etc. A construction project is a huge system which needs cooperation of thousands of workers. Jobs at construction sites are divided into different categories according to skill sets, such as carpenter work, plastering, glass work, painting, interior finishing, etc. Besides workers who actually move their hands on the site, there are also designers, managers, salesmen supporting a construction project.
Construction workers usually work between 8:30 and 17:30 with working hours about 7 hours 30 minutes to 8 hours. Though most construction companies have to work on Saturdays currently, they are beginning to adopt a five-day working week in the hope of attracting younger workers.
The salary of construction site work is mainly based on experience. An entry level construction worker who has 1-3 years of experience earns an average annual salary of 3,077,329 yen, while the average annual salary for a senior level construction worker with experience over 8 years is 5,011,169 yen. The total average salary of construction workers in Japan is 4,138,565 yen or an equivalent hourly rate of 1,990 yen. In addition, they earn an average bonus of 72,011 yen. More and more construction companies provide social insurance cover to appeal to workers.
Surely the salary and bonus vary depending on prefectures and companies. Urbanization areas and large companies tend to pay more.
Japan currently has restrictive immigration laws to restrict what activities foreign nationals can engage in. For example, unless permitted, a Student visa holder can't work paid and a Highly skilled professional visa holder can't work as a language teacher. We are going to pick up some visa allowing you to do construction site work in Japan.
Different from working visa granted based on activities, those specified visa granted based on family status like Spouse of Japanese national, Spouse of permanent resident, and Long-term resident has no limitation on holders' activities. So does Permanent resident. So if you are a holder of those visas, you are allowed to do any job you like, including construction site work.
This new residence status is aimed at addressing the serious labor shortage in certain sectors by accepting experienced foreign labors with specific expertise and skills. It includes two visas:
Applicable to foreigners who work in jobs that require considerable knowledge of or experience in 14 specified industry fields. Skill exams and Japanese language tests like Japanese Language Proficiency Test N4 level need to be passed before applying for this visa, but there is no particular requirements about foreigners' educational backgrounds. If you have completed the Technical Intern Training (ii), these exams can be exempted. Foreigners should be supported by an Accepting Organization or Registered Supporting Organization.
It allows a maximum stay up to 5 years and doesn't permit family accompany. This visa holders are also able to change their workplaces in the same job category.
Applicable to foreigners who work in jobs that require proficient skills in Construction Industry and Shipbuilding and Ship Machinery Industry. To apply for this visa, only skill exams need to be taken. It allows family accompany and has no renewal count limitation.
Currently only the following 11 job categories in the construction industry can accept specified skilled workers: Formwork construction, Earthwork, Interior finishing/material mounting, Plastering, Roofing, Concrete pumping, Telecommunications, Tunnel and Propulsion, Reinforcement construction, Construction machinery and construction, Reinforcing bar joints. Other job categories may also be added in this new visa in the future.
If you are residing in Japan now, pass the skill exams and Japanese language test, sign an employment contract with an accepting organization, then you can apply for change of status of residence to Specified skilled worker (i). Or if you are still outside Japan and owning no visa, you can take an application for a certificate of eligibility.
Searching on the internet you will get many job descriptions from job search websites. Normally you can search by industry, work location and employment type. For finding a part-time construction site job, Quick Jobs Japan has our highest recommendation as it is specialized for foreigners and you can find construction jobs based on your Japanese level.
If you want to find a local job, you can also register to the Hello work office nearby, search for available job openings or wait for a job introduction from the office. As a government-operated employment service center aiming to match between job seekers and companies in need of work laborers, Hello work supports foreign job seekers by providing multi-language services.