Work and employment in Japan: pros and cons, requirements, work visa



Work and employment in Japan: pros and cons, requirements, work visa

Japan is a state where class division is nominally absent as the whole country lives and works in almost similar conditions. Usually, the salary of a highly educated office worker won’t be too different from that of a plant laborer or a cafe staff. The only privilege white-collar workers have is a five-day week. 

This situation is based on the fact that university education demands substantial investments and academic achievements, so the majority of school graduates prefer vocational colleges. And by providing equal salaries Japanese government creates a social model which is deemed fair and where the middle-class reigns. 

Still, Japanese salaries are higher and employee coverage is much more advanced in comparison to the European states. Therefore employment in Japan is a dream of many foreigners. Even though getting a job there is quite challenging. 

Work in Japan: pros and cons 

One of the most obvious benefits of working in Japan is a high salary in every possible position. Moreover, the employer provides: 

Life, work, and medical insurance.

Mandatory contribution to the retirement fund.

Guaranteed bonuses 2-3 times per year due company’s income.

Coverage of transportation expenses on the way to the workplace and home.

Frequently employers also provide coverage for accommodation expenses. And make everything they can to keep up a cohesive team spirit.  

Yet some pitfalls have to be considered. For example: 

Official and actual salary rates are different. To get an actual one, the worker-to-be has to exclude from an income tax (10-20%), contributions to the retirement and insurance funds, etc. from the official rate. 

Unpaid overtime and an intense working schedule are quite normal here. Japanese have no issue with staying an extra hour or having only 30-minutes of lunchtime within the 12 hours of their working day. 

a Small number of weekdays and short-term vacations (up to 14 days per year, the majority of which are public holidays). 

Gender inequality. Despite the Law on Gender equality at the workplace issued in 1985 and the more modern Law on Women's promotion at the workplace, Japan still sticks to the so-called ippon Deku — women’s lifetime employment without any possibilities or perspectives of growth and promotion even as a long service payment. Moreover, the difference in the salaries due to gender mark is 25%. 

Requirements for the foreign specialist 

The unemployment rate in Japan is 3% only. Thus there is no demand for working hands and finding a dream job is a challenge. Especially for foreigners, as they are not employed in low-qualification positions (exclusion is made for those coming under the special programs) and have to meet a lot of demands including 

Language proficiency in Japanese and English (conversational level);

Tertiary education, Bachelor's degree at least; 

Mandatory certification of diplomas and qualification proofs;

Absence of diseases, disabilities, or mental issues;

Working visa and permit are a must;

Preferential employees are young men (up to 40 years of age) with a degree in law, medicine, or shipbuilding. Also, humanitarian arts and language teachers are welcomed (especially English tutors). 

Note: finding a job and being employed remotely is almost impossible. Japanese employers prefer offline interviews. But getting a work visa without a relevant invitation is also a challenge since the employer is in charge of the immigrant before the state. 

Japanese working visas

Japanese are pretty scrupulous about paper issues. Thus visa application requires a lot of research and a huge set of documents. Sometimes getting all the necessary papers takes up to 6 months. The process often gets complicated due to the validation of some certificates as the requirement states that one must submit the papers to the Consulate 1 month before their expiration. 
Furthermore, Japan has 18 types of working visas. Some of these are:
Highly skilled professional Visa of A, B, and C type. The selection of candidates who have relevant experience and good education is based on the scoring system for HSFP.
Professor Visa is made for tertiary education mentors. Teachers of elementary, middle, or high school must apply for an Instructor Visa.
Artist Visa is a must for creative folk: artists, sculptors, photographers, and composers. But it shouldn’t be confused with an Entertainer Visa, which is made for dancers, musicians, actors, and models. 
Medical services Visa is for highly qualified doctors — surgeons, oncologists, dentists, etc. Nurses and pharmacies also count. Yet the paramedical personnel (sitters, assistant nurses, and orderlies) has to apply for the Nursing care Visa. While interns and practitioners must get a Technical intern training Visa.
Engineer/Specialist in humanities/International services Visa is created for IT and marketing specialists as well as for designers, copywriters, interpreters, and foreign language teachers. 
Researcher Visa is aimed at research institutes' development in the spheres of medical care, ecology issues, recycling, and robotics. 
Legal/Accounting services Visa is for those who work in law or accounting business and demand mandatory certification. 
Specified skilled worker Visa had been issued in 2019 to cover the lack of workers in the sphere of shipbuilding, car service, and electronics, public alimentation, and hotel business. Highly qualified specialists from the mentioned sectors as well as sailors or aviation pros can work in Japan with a Skilled labor Visa. 
There are also visas for the press, foreign legionnaires, religious activists, and those who provide research on Japanese culture and language. 

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