Career Guide

Specified Skilled Worker Visa for Food Jobs in Japan

Specified Skilled Worker Visa for Food Jobs in Japan

The newly established residence status in 2019, Specified Skilled Worker, is only applicable to 14 specified industry fields, with Food service industry being the second main field following Care worker. Japanese government expects to admit 53000 foreign nationals to work in the food industry under this new status from 2019 to 2023. Up until now, foreign nationals can only be hired as clerical workers in the case of full-time employment. But under this new visa, they are allowed to do general restaurant jobs.

The Specified Skilled visa has 2 categories (i) and (ii), and the former applies to workers with a considerable degree of knowledge or experience, while the latter is for those with expert skills. For applicants, the main difference may be (ii) allows them to stay longer and bring their families to Japan, while (i) only allows a maximum stay of 5 years and family accompanies are not allowed. Currently only category (i) is applicable for Food service industry.

Requirements for Specified Skilled Worker visa

Generally known as a blue-collar visa, Specified Skilled Worker has no requirements on applicants' academic and career background. Only the following 3 conditions need to be met:

-Be over 18 years old

-Pass skills assessment test for food service industry, which we are going to talk about later.

-Pass Japanese language test.

Japanese Language Proficiency Test (JLPT), which is structured from 5 levels, N5 to N1, and N4 level or upper is required. As N4 level is being able to listen and comprehend conversations encountered in daily life and generally follow their contents, provided that they are spoken slowly, Specified Skilled Worker visa only requires a conversational Japanese ability.

For applicants overseas, Japanese Language Foundation Test (JLFT) result is also admitted.

Skills assessment test for food service industry

Organized by the Organization for Technical Skill Assessment of Foreign Workers in Food Industry (OTAFF), currently this test is only held in several regions of Japan, including Tokyo, Osaka, Sapporo, Sendai, Nagoya, Okayama, and Fukuoka, and several foreign countries, including the Philippines, Cambodia, and Myanmar. Schedule can be checked on the official websites.

The test consists of three subjects: Hygiene control, Preparation of food and drink, Customer service. Three types of tests, each with different point allotments, can be selected when submitting the application form.

Type A: Food Service Test (Standard type)

the standard allotment of points.

Type B: Food Service Test: Cooking (weighted)

the allotment of points to questions about "Preparation of food and drink" is higher than those about "Customer service."

Type C: Food Service Test: Customer Service (weighted)

the allotment of points to questions about "Customer service" is higher than those about "Preparation of food and drink."

A test type will not decide the type of work you will receive in the future. And the test will be defaulted to the Standard type if no type chosen. So if you are good at either cooking or customer service, make sure you choose type B or type C to take advantage to get a higher grade.

Whichever type you choose, the test will be in a multiple-choice format and consist of subject test 30 questions and practical skill test 15 questions in a total 80 minutes. One needs to take a score over 65% to pass the test. Text materials for each subject are also provided by JFNET in Japanese, English, Vietnamese, Khmer for preparing.

Jobs Specified Skilled Worker can do and can't do

This visa holders can do any job in the food industry including food and beverage preparation, customer service, and store management. They can also perform related tasks such as procurement and acceptance of raw materials and delivery work, or store staff. The workplace can be restaurants, take-aways and delivery restaurant services.

However, Specified Skilled Workers are not allowed to work at adult entertainment industries, such as bars, hostess bars, snack bars, clubs, pachinko parlors, and other related businesses. Let alone working as a hostess, even as a dishwasher or cleaner is also prohibited.

And this visa can only be applicable for regular full-time employment. Part-time worker or dispatcher will not be eligible for this visa.

Five recommended food jobs in Japan

If you passed Japanese language test and skill test for food service industry, you can establish an employment directly with employers. We would like to recommend you some common possible employers in this industry.

1. McDonald's

You may have been familiar with part-time work at McDonald's, but it also has a huge demand for foreign full-time workers. The job types range from manager, cook, cook helper, kitchen helper, room cleaner, housekeeper, cashier and delivery driver. The work content can be food preparation, customer service, or food delivery. You can always find a kind of job that you want to give a try at McDonald's.

2. Kentucky Fried Chicken

Its stores all over Japan can be your future workplace. Just like McDonald's, you may work as a counter staff to take order, cashier, and hand over food. Or you may work in the kitchen to cook and prepare food, or you may drive to delivery food. The job types and work contents may be alike McDonald's, while the company culture and staff training is quite different.

3. Pizza Hut

At Pizza Hut, you can be a cook to make pizza, pasta and wings, or a shift manager to take hand of a whole team to provide good service, or a waiter/waitress to serve customers directly, or a delivery driver to deliver orders to homes or businesses. Basically Pizza Hut provides trainings to teach you everything you need to know to succeed in these jobs.

4. Uber Eats

Uber Eats is now available in more than 10 cities in Japan like Tokyo, Kanagawa, Saitama, etc. The work flow is very simple that you log in to the Uber Partner app to begin accepting delivery requests, and pick up food from restaurants and delivery it to customers by your car, your bike or scooter.

5. Yoshinoya

The Japanese fast food chain, with Beef Bowl as its main item, Yoshinoya also has stores all around Japan. No matter working at the counter, or kitchen, or delivery, you will absolutely learn to provide superior guest services and customer satisfaction in Japanese style.