Career Guide

Japan's Immigration System and Status of Residences to Work

Japan's Immigration System and Status of Residences to Work

As a common sense that foreign nationals who want to enter Japan for no matter travelling, or working, or living, must apply for a visa at first, which is conventionally called a tourist visa, working visa, or family visa by foreigners.

After landing in Japan, foreigners usually call themselves a tourist or working or family visa holder, which is actually wrong in Japan's immigration system and the right answer should be a holder of corresponding Status of Residence. The difference between a visa and a Status of Residence is as following:

-A visa is issued by a Japanese embassy or consulate in other countries which is under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, to prove that there would be no problem for the holder to enter Japan with the activities specified on the visa. After a visa issued, the holder should landing in Japan in 3 months, otherwise this visa will be out of effect. When arriving at Japan's airport, the visa holder's passport and visa will be checked. If nothing wrong, the holder will be allowed to enter Japan and the issued visa will be out of validity (except for those allowing for a re-entry).

-After arriving at Japan's airport and the visa checked successfully, the visa holder will be issued a Status of Residence with a Residence Card by the immigration office, which is under the jurisdiction of the Immigration Bureau, to grant the holder to reside and engage in predefined activities in Japan during a predefined period like 6 months, 1 year or 3 year, etc. If the period of stay expired and the foreigner holds no valid Status of Residence, he or she has to get out of Japan. So an extension or change to another Status of Residence should be taken before the expiration to keep residing in Japan.

Requirements for obtaining Status of Residence

As said above, an application of Status of Residence is necessary to reside in Japan. According to the purposes of staying in Japan, there are 27 types of Status of Residences which can be mainly divided into 2 categories:

1. For engaging in specific activities in Japan

Including Highly skilled professional, Professor, Artist, Religious activities, Journalist, Business manager, Legal/Accounting services, Medical services, Researcher, Instructor, Engineer/Specialist in humanities/International services, Intra-company transfer, Entertainers, Skilled labor, Technical intern training, Specified skilled worker, Cultural Activities, Dependent, Student, Trainee, Temporary Visitor, Designated Activities.

2. For family status or other special reasons

Including Permanent Resident, Spouse or Child of Japanese Nationals, Spouse or Child of Permanent Resident, Long-term Resident.

Each of Status of Residence requires different documents, educational, working or financial background in detail, but with the same common guidelines:

-The activities that the applicant wishes to engage in Japan, should apply to one of the 27 Status of Residences. For example, a foreigner can apply for a Student status for studying in Japan, or he or she can apply for a Spouse of Japanese Nationals if married to a Japanese national.

-The applicant should satisfy those requirements of the Status of Residence that he or she wants to apply for. For example a ten-years continuous reside in Japan is required for a Permanent Resident.

-The applicant should have good conduct during staying in Japan like no criminal record or legal penalty.

-The applicant should be financially able to support his or her stay in Japan, no matter supported by oneself or a sponsor.

-If the applicant works in Japan, the employment should apply to Japanese laws and regulations no matter full-timely or part-timely.

-If the applicant earns an income in Japan, he or she should report the income and pay tax according to Japanese law.

-The applicant should notify his or her latest status to the immigration office including any change to matters on the Residence Card like residence or name.

Status of Residences with no restriction on work

Nearly all the foreigners in Japan are only allowed to work in the specific industry or job type, except for the following statuses granted according to the family status: Permanent Resident, Spouse or Child of Japanese Nationals, Spouse or Child of Permanent Resident, Long-term Resident.

Holders of these statuses are allowed to do any job they like in any field without limitations on working hours. They are also allowed to take part-in simple labor work part-timely, or work in amusement places like pachinko. Of course they are not allowed to engage in illegal activities according to the above guidelines.

Status of Residences with restrictions on work

Japanese immigration law has different work restrictions for different kind of status.

Statuses not allowed to work

Holders of Cultural Activities, Dependent, Student and Trainee are not allowed to work paid, as an international student is supposed to concentrate on studying while staying in Japan. However they are allowed to do part-time work less than 28 hours per week other than any kind of work at amusement places with obtaining a Permission to Engage in an Activity Other Than That Permitted by the Status of Residence Previously Granted from the immigration office.

Holders of Temporary Visitor are not allowed to do paid work in Japan in any circumstances.

Holders of Designated Activities may also be not able to work in some cases.

Statuses allowed to work as the specified job title

The remaining Status of Residences allow their holders to work as the specific professional, for example a Professor can only work as a professor in Japan and is not allowed to work at a convenience store. However with the above permission obtained from the immigration office, they can also do simple labor work part-timely.

For foreigners who want to find an arbeit or part-time job in Japan, this job search website, Quick Jobs Japan, will be really helpful, as it is specialized for foreigners in both English and Japanese. It updates a lot of jobs for different Japanese levels, industries, job titles and districts everyday. By searching this website it should be really easy for foreigners to find a suitable part-time job around.