Career Guide

Popular Part-Time Jobs Among International Students by Japanese Language Ability

Popular Part-Time Jobs Among International Students by Japanese Language Ability

Data shows that over 70% of international students studying in Japan work part-time. They work not only for extra money to support living in Japan as the high living cost of this country, but also to improve their Japanese language abilities during work, and to understand Japanese culture better.

But international students are not allowed to work without a work permission granted by immigration bureau, or work too much to influence your studies. Japanese immigration laws have ruled some work limitations on international students, which we will talk about later.

We highly recommend that international students find and do part-time jobs according to your Japanese language abilities, otherwise the job will be stressful if you don't understand what your boss is saying. We are going to introduce some popular part-time jobs by language ability.

Popular part-time jobs for international students

Many industries in Japan have high demands for foreign labor forces. There are some especially popular job types among international students categorized by Japanese language abilities as follows.

If you can't speak much Japanese

For those who have been studying in Japan for not long and are not able to speak any Japanese, or just words, those jobs which require less communication will make you feel comfortable. For example, light work like sorting and packaging at factories, or cleaning and bed making jobs at hotels. You can work alone at your own pace after receiving some basic instructions.

These jobs are also good choices to international students who can speak Japanese well but enjoy working alone.

If you speak conversational Japanese

If your Japanese ability is about JLPT (Japanese Language Proficiency Test) N5~N3 level, you can try to work as an Arubaito (arbeit) at convenience stores, super markets, or Izakaya (Japanese local restaurants). You need to serve customers in Japanese, take orders, do cashiers or cleaning. Don't worry that these stores will provide you training before work. And some restaurants have meals served, which will be a great advantage for students.

If you speak business Japanese

If your Japanese is like JLPT N2~N1 level, you can try the maybe most popular part-time job among international students: English teacher. Or translator, interpreter, or serving foreign and Japanese customers at restaurants, hotels, stores at tourist spots by making use of both your own and Japanese language ability.

How to find a part-time job

To find part-time jobs at convenience stores, supermarkets, or restaurants nearby, you can just go to the store and check if any recruitment poster is pasted. Then you can talk to the manager directly for an application.

For jobs like light work at factories or cleaning and bed making at hotels, job search websites will be much more powerful to search for positions away from home, among which, Quick Jobs Japan will be really helpful for foreigners.

As a website specialized for foreigners finding part-time jobs in Japan, Quick Jobs Japan is so useful to be able to show job descriptions in both Japanese and English, and filter jobs by Japanese language ability from no-speaking to JLPT N1 level. Job openings are updated every day under categories such as cleaning and bed making, convenience store staff, food, light work, care, construction, etc. And job descriptions are detailed enough to know about salary, shift, work contents, allowances, etc.

Apply for work permission before work

According to Japanese Immigration Control Act, Student visa holders are prohibited to work paid as Student visa is granted for studying in Japan but not earning money. However, considering that international students also need money to support their lives in Japan, they are permitted to work moderately with a work permission obtained, whose name is Permission to Engage in an Activity Other Than That Permitted by the Status of Residence Previously Granted, or Shikaku Gai Katsudou Kyoka (資格外活動許可) in Japanese.

How to apply for a work permission

International students should take required documents below to the regional immigration office in charge of one's address:

-Application form. It can be found at the immigation office or downloaded from the official website.


-Residence Card

-Student ID

The application will be free of charge.

When to apply for a work permission

As the procedure period can range from two weeks to two months, international students had better apply sooner before starting work.

Or you can apply at the airport or port at your first time entering Japan with a Status of Residence as Student for a stay of more than 3 months.

How to update a work permission

The work permission expires when the Student visa's period of stay is finished. International students are recommended to extend the work permission upon updating the visa's period of stay.

And if you change your Status of Residence, you must apply for work permission again.

Work limitations on the work permission

Just as the screening standard of the work permission that part-time job activity does not interfere with the current Student activity and is regarded as appropriate, there are some work limitations on international students' working hours and workplaces to ensure the criteria.

About working hours

Part-time jobs are not permitted to be over 28 hours per week, and 8 hours per day during vacation but the max is 40 hours per week.

Note that this is a limitation on all part-time jobs of an international student. If you engage in two or more part-time jobs at the same time, make sure your total shifts within the framework.

About workplaces

International students are not permitted to work in amusement and entertainment businesses, such as pachinko, slot, bar, host club, etc.

Not only the work serving customers in these businesses, but also a part-time job as washing dishes in the kitchen is also prohibited.

If international students work part-time without a valid work permission, or violate the work limitations, you may be published, fined or forced to leave Japan in the worst case. Don't forget to check your work permission.