Jobs & Careers in Japan

Employment in Japan

In the event that an international student studying in Japan decides to find a job in Japan, they must change the status of their status of residence from Student to a permit that allows them to work.

Status of Residence Types

  1. Visa statuses that allow work regardless of occupation or industry type
    Permanent Resident, Spouse of a Japanese Citizen, Spouse of a Permanent Resident, and Long-term Resident
  2. Visa statuses allowing work for a given range of occupations, industry types, and types of work
    Highly Skilled Professional, Professor, Artist, Religious Activities, Journalist, Business Manager, Legal/Accounting Services, Medical Services, Researcher, Instructor, Engineer/Specialist in Humanities/International Services, Intra-Company Transferee, Entertainer, Skilled Worker, Care Worker, and Specified Skilled Worker
    * The Highly Skilled Professional visa status is targeted towards those who have above the required total score (points) for academic history, employment history, and annual income combined
  3. Work visa status based on the type of work: Designated Activities
    Designated Activities

Engineer/Specialist in Humanities/International Services

In 2018, approximately 90% of international students who were allowed a change to their visa status fell into the Engineer/Specialist in Humanities/International Services category.

Types of activities

Activities and/or duties at industries that require knowledge or abilities from those who studied courses in the science, engineering, and other fields in the natural sciences (STEM fields), or law, economics, sociology, and humanities approved in the contracts of Japan's public and private institutions (companies)

Main Occupations

Accountant, Financial Analyst, HR (Human Resources), Legal Business, Planning, Product Development, Design, Marketing, Public Relations (PR), Advertisement, Interpreter, Translator, Teacher and Instructor of Foreign Language, Industrial/Manufacturing Technology, Research and Development, Engineer, Programmer, Architectural Design, System Administration, etc.


  1. The candidate must be a university graduate who majored in a subject relevant to the work they will be doing in their industry of choice, or they must have completed an education equivalent to the former. Or, the candidate may have completed a specialized curriculum at a vocational school in Japan (the candidate's completion of the program should be based on the requirements set by the Minister of Justice). Or, the candidate may have engaged in over 10 years of practical experience relevant to their chosen industry (including acquiring applicable skills/knowledge through a relevant major at their university, technical college, high school (or the equivalent), or a vocational school program).
    In the event that the candidate aims to work at an industry requiring skills or knowledge related to information processing, the candidate must pass the information processing skills examination administered by the Minister of Justice. If the candidate has already obtained relevant qualifications, there is no need to take the test.
  2. If the candidate aims to work for an industry that follows the customs and principles of a foreign culture and the work involves translation, interpretation, foreign language instruction, public relations, advertising and/or overseas transactions, fashion or interior design, product development, etc., then the candidate must have at least three years of practical experience related to the industry. However, if the candidate is a university graduate who plans to work in an industry related to translation, interpretation or foreign language instruction, then practical experience is not necessary.
  3. Foreigners must receive remuneration that is equivalent to or above that of what a Japanese citizen would receive from the company.

Period of Stay

5 years, 3 years, 1 year, or 3 months *Renewable
* Once a candidate has graduated from university, they can work in translation, interpretation, or instruction of their native language regardless of their major or specialization at their university or work experience.
* In terms of computer-related skills, if candidates passed the information processing skills examination administered by the Minister of Justice or have the necessary qualifications, they can engage in related work regardless of what they majored in at their university.

Points regarding the Engineer/Specialist in Humanities/International Services visa status

Please see the following 4 points of inspection for those who want to change their status of residence:

  1. Whether the individual possesses the appropriate skills/knowledge based on their academic history (their major, research, etc.) or other personal history and experiences
  2. Whether the individual can effectively use their own skills/knowledge to contribute to the work they are interested in
  3. Whether the individual's benefits and compensation (remuneration) are appropriate
  4. Whether the hiring company's scale and past achievements reflect stability and a potential for long-term employment, as well as whether the company provides opportunities for the applicant to make full use of their skills and experience.

*For more information, see "Guidelines for Changing the Status of Residence of International Students to Engineer/Specialist in Humanities/International Services"(JP)

Specialized Skilled Worker

In response to serious labor shortages, this system to accept foreign nationals with a certain level of expertise and skills who are ready to work immediately began in April 2019. The system is targeted towards foreign workers who plan to work for industries seeking individuals with expertise or experience in specific fields (Bringing family members along is generally not permitted).

Specific industry sectors

The following 14 industry sectors are included: Care Worker; Building Cleaning Management; Machine Parts & Tooling Industries; Industrial Machinery Industry; Electric, Electronics and Information Industries; Construction Industry; Shipbuilding and Ship Machinery Industry; Automobile Repair and Maintenance; Aviation Industry; Accommodation Industry; Agriculture, Fishery and Aquaculture, Manufacture of Food and Beverages, Food Service Industry

* There are 2 types of specialized skilled worker visa, which are the "Specified Skills No. 1" visa and "Specified Skills No. 2" visa. The "Specified Skills No. 2" visa is targeted towards foreign nationals who plan to work for industries seeking individuals with mastery in specific fields.

Types of Activities

Activities specified by employment contracts of Japanese public and private institution (company) sectors designated by the Ministry of Justice in Japan (the Ministry of Justice will determine the industry sectors that are qualified to hire foreign nationals based on their difficulties with recruiting personnel). Industries with activities that require the appropriate degree of knowledge or experience determined by the Ministry of Justice are permitted.

Main Occupations

The specific duties or responsibilities vary based on the particular industry sector.

Accommodation services: industries that provide services including reception, planning, public relations, customer service as well as restaurant services at the lodging facility. Along with the normal responsibilities that come with these positions, foreign nationals may also be given other tasks Japanese citizens in these sectors would normally engage in (i.e. sales/marketing within the lodging facility, inspection of furniture/equipment in the lodging facility) in addition to their regular work at the facility.

Food service industry: all food-related services (cooking, customer service, business management)

Please visit the site below to find information on other industry sectors.


  • Be at least 18 years of age
  • Achieve a passing score on both the technical skills test (e.g. accommodation: accommodation skills assessment test, food services: food service industry skills assessment test) and Japanese language examination
  • Be a Specified Skills No. 1 visa holder that has lived in Japan for no more than 5 years
  • No security deposit has been collected or a contract that provides for a penalty fee has been signed
  • If there are certain fees the employee must pay, they must fully understand the conditions, etc.
  • Receive remuneration equivalent to or greater than the remuneration received by Japanese nationals

Period of Stay

Specified Skilled (i): renewable every 1 year, 6 months, or 4 months (up to 5 years in total)

Specified Skilled (ii): renewable every 3 years, 1 year, or 6 months

* Please click here to see an overview of the system in a new window.

Designated Activities (Notification No. 46: Graduates of Japanese Universities)

Up until recently, there were no work-specific visas permitting "Status of Residence" holders to work in service industries such as restaurants and retail stores, as well as manufacturing industries. However, recently there has been a growth in the number of enterprises expressing a need for inbound workers. Additionally, these companies believe that bilingual/multilingual employees could act as a bridge between Japanese employees and their foreign employees who lack sufficient Japanese language skills. Thus, there has been a greater need across various industries to hire foreign nationals that are university and graduate school graduates who possess a wide range of knowledge and sophisticated linguistic ability.

In this regard, it is anticipated that international students who graduated from Japanese universities have acquired knowledge and practical abilities, in addition to Japanese language skills, that they can put to good use in their industry. This situation has been officially approved and the candidate is permitted to work under the "Status of Residence 'Designated Activities No. 46'" visa status.

Types of Activities

A foreign national is permitted to work in a wide range of industries under the condition that he/she has graduated from a public or private Japanese university and acquired a wide range of knowledge and practical abilities, in addition to a high level of Japanese.

However, they are not permitted to engage in work that is legally required to be performed by a qualified person (work that requires a business monopoly qualification) or in work related to the entertainment industry.

Main Occupations

  • Those employed by a restaurant and serve foreign customers at the restaurant while also serving as interpreters (This also includes serving Japanese customers).
    *Doing work that solely involves washing dishes in the kitchen or cleaning is not permitted.
  • Those providing customer service and sales work for foreign customers at retail stores, in addition to stocking and product planning, etc., while also serving as interpreters (This also includes customer service and sales work for Japanese customers).
    *Doing work that solely involves putting products out on display or cleaning the store is not permitted.
  • Those working at a hotel or Japanese inn (ryokan): creating and/or updating pages for the website in foreign languages, doing translation work for foreign customers, and managing foreign bell staff or doormen who provide customer service (This also includes serving Japanese customers).
    *Doing work that solely involves cleaning the guest rooms is not permitted.


  • This system applies only to foreign nationals who graduated from four-year Japanese universities or from Japanese graduate schools. It does not apply to graduates of junior colleges or vocational schools.
  • Foreign nationals must have passed the Japanese Language Proficiency Test (JLPT) N1 or scored above 480 on the Business Japanese Test (BJT).
    *Individuals who majored in "Japanese" at their university or graduate school either in Japan or in their university overseas are considered to have met the Japanese language requirement (In addition, individuals who majored in "Japanese" at their university or graduate school need to graduate from Japanese university or graduate school as well).
  • Foreign nationals must receive remuneration equivalent to or above the amount that a Japanese citizen would receive, etc.

Period of Stay

5 years, 3 years, 1 year, 6 months, or 3 months * Renewable

(Supervised by Manabu Kubota, Visiting Researcher of JASSO)


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