Work in Japan with a student visa

To work with a student visa you have to:

  1. Go to the immigration website and download the request for exemption document
  2. Fill out the document
  3. They will ask you for your passport and your foreign resident card
  4. Return the file to the Immigration Office
  5. Once obtained, you will be allowed to work a maximum of 28 hours per week
  6. It is advisable to go to the immigration office very early, the office is usually crowded

You want to live and study in Japan? However, without a work permit this dream seems impossible? live in Japan, you have a student visa and you want to work and make some extra money? Here are some tips that could help you work in Japan during your studies.

Many would like to try and gain the experience of living and working in Japan. To achieve that dream, studying at a Japanese language school and obtaining a student visa are an essential step. It will allow you to boost your level of Japanese, but also to give you time to fully understand the country, to choose your university, your career and the path you wish to pursue in the land of the rising sun.

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Living in Japan is also a financial investment

Here’s the thing: such a project is generally an expensive investment. Not only flight tickets and monthly accommodation, but also daily life expenses, transportation fees, food and other expenses can very quickly and heavily weigh on your budget. Without a work permit, it becomes difficult to consider further education that may spread out over several years.

The labor market in Japan

At the beginning of 2018, the unemployment rate in Japan reached 2.4%. Japan is currently going through a period of full employment and many job offers do not find applicants. For students, there is plenty of what Japanese people call baito (バ イ ト). Baito are odd jobs. All around Tokyo, restaurants, hotels, shops, video game publishers … and even foreign language schools regularly recruit for this type of jobs. Sometimes knowledge of Japanese is required, but it is not uncommon for companies to hire foreigners who will work in English or in their native language.

Can I work in Japan with a student visa ?

The student visa is a document that allows you to stay on Japanese territory for the sole purpose of studying. By its nature, this visa does not authorize you to work. Besides, in order to start your Japanese studies in the best possible conditions, we strongly recommend you not to work during the first 3 months of your stay. However, to improve your daily life in Japan, you can apply for an exemption which allows you to work on Japanese soil with a student visa.

Work in Japan with a student visa

Applying for a Work Permit with a Student Visa in Japan

First, go to the Immigration website and print the document entitled: Permission to Engage in an Activity Other Than That Permitted by the Status of Residence Previously Granted. When done, fill out the document. You will have to submit your application to the immigration office along with your passport and your foreign resident card. *Note that under certain conditions, you are allowed to work at your university without needing a change of status.

Once the authorization is obtained, you will be given permission to work up to 28 hours per week. It should be more than enough to improve your daily life throughout your studies in Japan.

Please be aware!

The Immigration office is often crowded. It is recommended to go there before the doors open, otherwise you might have to wait for several hours. The obtainment of a student visa remains conditional on the financial guarantees presented by the candidate. The promise of a part-time job in Japan will not exonerate you from these obligations. Thereby, the work obtained should aim to improve your daily life, and not to finance your entire studies.

Prohibited jobs for foreign students in Japan

Once they have obtained their permission to engage in other activities, international students will immediately be able to start working. However, even with the permission to work, some jobs are still prohibited for foreigners.

It is the case, for example, for nightlife jobs and jobs that include serving alcohol, such as bars. Therefore, foreign students are not allowed to work as a host or hostess, nor as staff at game centers, pachinko, massage salons, in the adult industry or love hotels.

Consequences of working a prohibited job as a foreign student in Japan

If you are a student working in these types of businesses, no matter what your role is, this is a legal offense. If you are caught, your visa can get canceled and you can be deported from Japan.