Working in Japan – Job Info & Help

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What You Need to Know About Japan’s Job Hunting Visa

Many have heard of the fabled “job hunting visa,” but what is it exactly? It’s a Status of Residence called Designated Activities. The status has been a catch-all term for miscellaneous activities the Ministry of Justice (which is responsible for the Immigration Bureau of Japan) allows foreigners to stay in Japan such as staff for a diplomat, take a working holiday, and work as a nurse.

Since 2016, the status now includes foreign students actively seeking employment after graduating from a university or equivalent form of higher education.

This is great news for foreign exchange students as this allows them to continue the job hunt after they have graduated from their school instead of having to go back home. Normally when someone enters Japan under a “student visa,” they are encouraged to leave the country when their studies end since their residence status is in a gray area after they are no longer attending school even if their period of stay is longer than their school term.

Unfortunately, this special status for job hunting only covers individuals who will be fresh graduates of a Japanese university or equivalent educational institution. Those that are in between jobs or wish to change residence statuses will not be granted the Designated Activities due to this prerequisite.

The requirements are outlined below, but make sure to check the official Ministry of Justice website (in Japanese) for the most up-to-date and accurate information.

Foreign residents who graduate from a university, vocational school, or technical college may be eligible to apply for this change of status, but the requirements differ based on the type of educational institution one graduate from.

Applicants must also start job hunting before graduation and will need to prove that they have been doing so. With these in mind, here are some useful phrases to help you out with your interviews! Also, remember to look up some of the key questions asked before you walk into the interview room to show that you are well-prepared.

University graduates require the following documents:

  • Recommendation letter from the school
  • Document to prove that they are currently job hunting
  • Diploma

Technical college graduates require the following documents:

  • Same as University graduates

*This category might seem confusing since not all foreign residents have an equivalent type of education in their home country, but this is a hybrid system of high school and technical higher education chosen as an alternative to high school and university.
These schools tend to train individuals in work such as construction, mechanics, electricity, etc.

Vocational school graduates require the following documents:

  • Certificate of completion from the vocational school
  • Academic transcript
  • Recommendation letter from the school
  • Document to prove that they are currently job hunting
  • Explanation of type of studies and specialization at the school

*Be aware the Ministry of Justice may ask for more documents

All applicants must also bring the following documents to Immigration:

  • Change of Status of Residence application form
  • Photograph
  • Passport
  • Residence card proof of being able to financially support self while job hunting (bank statements)

Some applicants may need to submit additional documents to prove their identity, such as a family register.

All documents must be translated into Japanese. Documents submitted will not be returned, so please make copies of them. Once the change of status is granted, it is valid for 6 months. We hope this helps clear up any misunderstandings about getting a visa to job hunt in Japan and wish the best of luck to all the new graduates.

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