Career Guide

Job Hunting Visa and Other Visa With Work Permit in Japan

Job Hunting Visa and Other Visa With Work Permit in Japan

If international students graduated or withdrawn from universities or other educational institutions and wish to remain in Japan after graduation, some things about status of residence need to be cared seriously. As a visa status of "Student" can't look for a job according to the law, you need to change the status of residence to another one appropriate for your purpose of stay or residence.

If you are going to continue job-hunting in Japan, you can change to a "Designated Activities" visa, which is also called "Job Hunting Visa" and allows a maximum of 1 year's stay after graduation with once extension included. Of course if you have already got employed by a company and start work immediately after graduation, you can change to an appropriate status of residence according to the type of job like "Engineer" or something else.

We are going to talk about other visa choices in part 2. If international students fail to change to any other visa after graduation, they have to go back to their home country as normally for someone entering Japan under a "Student" visa, they are encouraged to leave the country when their studies end and no longer attending school even if their period of stay is not expired yet.

What is a "Job Hunting Visa"?

Actually "Designated Activities" is a catch-all visa defined by the Ministry of Justice allowing foreigners to stay in Japan for miscellaneous activities not only hunting for jobs after graduation, but also waiting for starting work after graduation, or being staff for a diplomat or taking a working holiday and so on.

For international students who would like to apply for the "Job Hunting visa", they are required to submit corresponding documents to the immigration office, which include

  1. Certificate of graduation from the university enrolled in
  2. Recommendation letter from the university
  3. Financial documents to certify the ability of themselves or some other sponsors to cover all expenses to be incurred during their stay in Japan
  4. Documents to verify that they have continued full-time job-hunting like interview schedules
  5. Application for Change of Status of Residence which can be downloaded from the immigration bureau's website
  6. Passport and Residence Card

As every university may have different requirements for the recommendation letter and the application may also be refused, international students are highly recommended to start visa change process 3 months before their graduation.

Other visa choices to work in Japan

As mentioned before, 'Job Hunting Visa' allows international students to seek employment or wait to start work in a company.They can also change from a "Student" ; or "Job Hunting Visa"; to other visas with work permit to work and live in Japan, which can be divided into two categories:

Visa with work permit without restrictions

Those visas granted according to the family status or other special reasons allow the visa holders to work in Japan without any restrictions on job types, working hours, workplaces, such as "Permanent Resident", "Long-Term Resident", "Spouse or Child of Japanese National", "Spouse of Permanent Resident". If a foreigner getting married with a Japanese person, he or she can apply to change to the "Spouse of Japanese National" visa and is free to do any normal jobs in Japan.

Visa with work permit with restrictions

If international students going to work for a company, in most cases, their status of residence will be "Engineer" or "Specialist in Humanities/ International Services". Or if they are going to work at a university or research institute as a researcher, their visa status will be "Professor" or "Researcher". Those kinds of working visas only allow them to work in Japan in the specified industry, for example an "Engineer" holder is not allowed to work as a language teacher. Or if international students going to start their own business in Japan, they can change to the "Investor/Manager" status of residence, but also they are limited to this specific business and there are requirements on the amount of investment funds.

To obtain a work permit in Japan

There are many visas or additional work permissions to allow foreigners to work in Japan in different ways.

Apply for a work permission as a regular employee

To work as a regular employee, you can apply for a visa with work permit without restrictions like "Spouse of Japanese National", or a visa with work permit with restrictions like working visas. Different documents may be required depending on each visa and each person, which you can check on the website, prepare for the documents and submit them to the immigration office. In the case of working visa, some documents from your company will also be required.

Apply for a work permission as a freelancer

To work as a freelancer, you will be required to certify that you already have estimates or provisional contracts with Japanese clients. It will be quite hard to obtain this work permission if you are not currently living in Japan.

Apply for a work permission as a part-time worker

If you hold a "Student" or "Job Hunting Visa" and wish to do some part-time job, or an "Engineer" working visa and wish to do some part-time work other than your main work, a Permission to Engage in an Activity Other Than That Permitted by the Status of Residence Previously Granted from the immigration bureau will help you.

This permission allows the holder to engage in activities different from the industry or activity they claimed when they applied for their original visa with some working hours and workplace limitations such as not working for more than 28 hours a week and not in the entertainment business.

If any questions about the visa application

Even though all the details can be known from the official websites or offices of Japanese governments, it is still difficult and complicated for foreigners to understand these policies in Japanese, in which case you can get to professionals for help.

Questions about the status of residence or visa can be answered by professional immigration lawyers'Questions about labor management, insurance and pension can go to licensed social insurance consultants, while incorporation problems can go to administrative scriveners and immigration lawyers.