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Japanese work visas

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Many people have come to the forum asking about what types of jobs they can get in Japan with their limited speaking abilities and technical skills. We tell them to work on getting a work visa first, and they often don't see why that would matter.

The reason it's important to figure out the visa first, is that the visa determines what type of job you can get, not the other way around. If you aren't qualified for a visa, and/or can't make the immigration office believe Japan needs your services, it doesn't matter if you have 1 or even 20 job offers from within Japan--you won't be able to take them without a visa.

For citizens of England, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Korea, France, and Germany, there is a working holiday visa. This is not the same as a work visa--it's simply an extended tourist/travel visa that allows you to get a part-time job to help pay for the extra expenses of a longer stay in Japan, away from your job in your home country. Under this visa you can only stay up to one year, and you must leave at the end of that time.

For those of you who just want to work in Japan for a short while (e.g. gap year), the first step would be to find out more about the working holiday visa in your country. For those of you wanting to work in Japan long-term (or are coming from a country that doesn't have the working holiday visa), you should find out about more normal work visas, and what requirements they have. Most normal work visas require a 4-year college degree, and some specialized skills (Eg. native English ability). There are other ways to get a visa, but the fact is, you can't get a normal visa and go flip burgers at Mos Burger.

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