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Qualifications for work in Japan?

DontBeDown

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Hello,

I was hoping that someone could answer a few of the questions that I have about getting a job in Japan.
So let me tell you about myself, currently I am trying to get a diploma in the field of computing and information technologies on a university in Slovenia and am planning to try and get a masters degree from that same field as well, my native language is Slovene, I am fluent in English, know quite a bit of German(which I could improve on if the need be) and am trying to learn Japanese as well.
I have read that many people start working in Japan with the help of exchange programs such as JET, however, to my knowledge programs such as JET are meant for teachers. Sadly, I have no real life experience with Japan, something which I hope to change in the next 2-3 years while I try and get my masters degree.
So the questions I would like to know the answer to are:

-Is it possible to get work and an appropriate visa in Japan as a foreigner from a non-English speaking EU country with a masters degree in computing and information technologies, and if yes are the chances good or bad? What are the language requirements, do you have to be completely fluent in Japanese?

-I have heard that workplaces are very competitive in Japan, which causes Japanese people to be unaccepting/rude to foreigners that come to work there. This is something that seems silly to me, however, since I do not have any experience with life in Japan I would like to hear the opinion from someone that has had a chance to find that out for themselves.

Thank you in advance for any useful information.
 

Glenski

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Stop going by rumors. Look up the JET Programme and you'll see that although the majority of people are language teaching assistants (ALTs), there are 2 other positions. I don't know if either suits you, but I suspect not.

-Is it possible to get work and an appropriate visa in Japan as a foreigner from a non-English speaking EU country with a masters degree in computing and information technologies, and if yes are the chances good or bad? What are the language requirements, do you have to be completely fluent in Japanese?
As long as you hold a college degree, you are eligible for a work visa here. That's an immigration policy. The employers will likely have other regulations, including experience and Japanese language ability. Go to the Career Cross website and see what is posted in your field. If all you will have is a degree in your field (a very competitive one), I don't think your chances of getting a job are very high.

-I have heard that workplaces are very competitive in Japan, which causes Japanese people to be unaccepting/rude to foreigners that come to work there.
That is a terrible cause and effect. It is not true. There are other reasons for locals to be unaccepting or rude to us. Generally speaking, I'd say they aren't that way anyhow. Where did you hear that rumor?

When it comes time for you to look for work, you might want to consider getting an internship or traineeship first. That would allow you to test the waters. Also, when considering a job, keep in mind that there are companies here that are branch offices from foreign countries, so they sometimes don't have such strict language requirements.
 

DontBeDown

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Thank you for your reply.

I will definitely follow your advice and look more into the matter in the future, as for the origin of the rumor about the competetive workplace leading to foreigners being unaccepted, I heard/read it on a few forums over the last few months and I also remember seeing it in a couple of youtube videos from different people that claimed to have worked or are still working in Japan. I believe one such video was from the user Ryan Boundless and was called something like "Japan a nightmare: do not work in Japan" or something similar if I remember correctly. Sadly as I mentioned in my previous post I do not have any personal experience with Japan and so I just refuse to believe that a thing such as that is common, since for every person that complained I saw many more people say that they had a wonderful experience in Japan. I believe that the people that claimed things such as that most likely just had a very rare bad experience, however that is just my opinion.

Once again I would like to thank you for your response and am very grateful to hear your opinion.
 

Mike Cash

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Ryan Boundless is an ALT who stayed too long and hates it, but never bothered to acquire any other job skills and whose Japanese sucks too much to do anything else. He's the poster child for the people who painted themselves into the "pretend to teach English to people who pretend to learn it" corner, have no way out, and like to pretend everything they hate about Japan is Japan's fault instead of the result of their own lack of foresight and effort. Pay him no mind.
 

johnnyG

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I think Ryan Boundless is also (or was?) trying to live off his youtube channel. Tho Ryan Clueless might be a better name for him.

The one where he found a new girlfriend in Thailand was kind of funny.
 

Transformer5

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For people thinking of "doing" Japan, I'd advise them first and foremost to think about what they really want to do with their life career-wise and do it, then go for any opportunities that present themselves in Japan in that field. Learning Japanese towards this will obviously help.

JET is a good programme if you can get on it, and will likely help towards any future Japan-related work you might do (though they often put you out in the sticks, which doesn't suit everyone). You don't have to speak Japanese (though it helps), be a teacher, or even have career plans to be a teacher, just an interest in Japan. JET is more about "cultural exchange" than anything, and promoting better relations between the countries on the programme and Japan.

The only other alternative for "doing" Japan are eikaiwa schools and ALT dispatch companies, which tend to be criminal money rackets (the big ones are anyway). All they require of you is that you have a native level of English ability (some of them employ non-native speakers, and you don't need any Japanese ability). They might be OK just for a year or so if all you want to do is see Japan and have fun before returning to the real world. Some people make a career of it with them (you can get promoted to managerial positions, or move into other areas of the business), but as Mike says, these places are nothing to do with English teaching, and everything to do with fleecing piles of cash off people, and working their staff as much as possible for as little as possible, in order to make the financiers of these rackets even richer.

You really want to think about whether you want to get involved in such businesses in the first place, let alone pursue a "career" with them (I use the term loosely). Ryan Boundless is a classic example of what can happen to you if you don't think or care about that.
 

mdchachi

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For somebody like you, you should be able to find a better route into Japan than JET or teaching. Maybe as a university exchange/researcher. I had several friends from around the world -- Brazil, Norway, Finland, etc. -- that were in Japan doing some sort of research. Not sure if it was post-doc or what, exactly. I never really queried them on what they were doing. Many of them were at University of Tsukuba which still seems to have strong overseas relationships.
Or find work in technology. I worked in Japan in I.T. for an American company and there were people from all over the world there besides the Americans -- India, Ireland, Australia, Russia, Ukraine, Philippines, ,etc.
My best advice to you would to become familiar and competent in modern tools, so-called "deep learning" or "big data" processing etc. That should open a lot of opportunities. If you're coming from Slovenia, you probably won't insist on a Sunnyvale salary, which will make you that much more desirable.

To answer your questions specifically, I think your chances are very good. With qualifications in technology, you should be able to find work with zero Japanese ability. It may not be in a Japanese company but that's all the better. On the whole, I think the work environment in a gaishikei is better.

I've never heard of blatant discrimination like that. I have heard of glass ceiliings (meaning, opportunity for career advancement is limited) is not uncommon. But it's hard to generalize. I've worked for and with Japanese companies but never in a role where I was competing with the native Japanese. So my experience is limited.
 

tulimyrsky

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If you get your Japanese to an upper intermediate level, you could do the Coordinator for International Relations position with the JET programme. There is more of a variety of duties in that position. My Finnish friend did it and really enjoyed it. Then if you want to move on later to a job using your degree, you'll have better luck since you will already be in the country.
 

Transformer5

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I've got a bunch of friends who did JET. One has gone on to run his own business in the city where he started out, another did a TESOL Master's and now teaches English at uni, while another studied Japanese hard (you get plenty of time for that on JET) and upped his Japanese qualifications, and has built a career in translating and interpreting.

It's worth doing if you can get on it, and particularly if you're thinking of staying in Japan longer term. It helps get you connected, and gets looked on favourably by employers.
 
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I have a couple of related questions:
1) I hear that some companies hold a license which allows them to arrange working visas and others do not. What is that license called in Japanese?
2) Does the job position need to be relevant to the college degree a foreigner holds in order to be eligible for working visa?
 

Glenski

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1) I hear that some companies hold a license which allows them to arrange working visas and others do not.
No. Companies must meet some sort of tax standards (I don't know what they are.). Perhaps the document you are thinking of is the Certificate of Eligibility, but eligibility refers to the person who wants the visa, not eligibility of a company to sponsor a visa.

Which brings me to your word "arrange" a visa. The company doesn't. Immigration (specifically, the Ministry of Justice) does. People who want work visas have to apply for the COE along with the company which has agreed to hire them, and they supply various tax-related documentation, too. A contract is usually needed as well.


2) Does the job position need to be relevant to the college degree a foreigner holds in order to be eligible for working visa?
Depends on which work visa. What kind of job are you looking for?
 
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Thank you for reply, Glenski. What i meant by "arrange" was an employer sending some sort of invitation in my name to Ministry of Justice. I haven't looked that much into the procedure yet. I'd like to know whether there is a way to find out if a company is eligible to hire foreigners, without asking directly.

At the moment i'm looking for a language school. I know some language schools are affiliated with companies in a way that promotes graduates as potential candidates for job positions.
 

Glenski

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You're confusing me. Do you want to come here to learn Japanese language, or to get a job teaching a language (or do some other kind of work)? You should really have started your own thread instead of hijacking this one. Give us some details about you, too.
 

Mike Cash

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1) I hear that some companies hold a license which allows them to arrange working visas and others do not. What is that license called in Japanese?
You might be thinking of a legal scrivener.

司法書士

They act as surrogates for handling all sorts of legal paperwork and bureaucratic filings which don't quite need an attorney to handle. Some have a general practice and some may specialize. You can usually find one specializing in immigration/naturalization matters located near Immigration offices.
 
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You're confusing me. Do you want to come here to learn Japanese language, or to get a job teaching a language (or do some other kind of work)? You should really have started your own thread instead of hijacking this one. Give us some details about you, too.
I hesitated to start a new thread since i thought the same question may had been asked many times. Hopefully our moderators can make a separate thread out of this.

My ultimate goal is to get a residence card. Judging from many "success stories" one solid way to get it is to:
1) enroll at a language school
2) while at a language school, work part-time and hunt for a full-time job
3a) graduate from a language school. If the job hunt was successful - change visa status, if not...
3b) enroll in any course that will allow to extend student visa (cooking, animation, IT, economics etc.)
repeat (3b)-(3a) until a full-time job is secured.
4) that's it. Work and wait for eligibility to become a permanent resident.

Since i already hold a JLPT N2 certificate i consider a one year course that prepares for N1.

You might be thinking of a legal scrivener.
司法書士
Thanks Mike. That certainly is a helpful information. I imagine i may require such services.
 

Glenski

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My ultimate goal is to get a residence card.
Why?

4) that's it. Work and wait for eligibility to become a permanent resident.
Maybe we have a terminology problem here. You don't need PR to have a residence card. See here.
 
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You perplexed me by that question. To think of it, i don't have an answer. Perhaps i don't need it after all.

Maybe we have a terminology problem here. You don't need PR to have a residence card. See here.
It was a misnomer on my part indeed. Thank you for that link.
I already got plenty of useful information from your replies Mike and Glenski, really appreciate that. I'm still looking for a way to query about a company's eligibility to hire foreigners.
 

Glenski

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I'm still looking for a way to query about a company's eligibility to hire foreigners.
What exactly is your situation? That is, do you have a specific company already in mind? Have they indicated interest in you? Is there an advertisement we could read about a job posting? When it comes right down to it, if it appears to be a valid company, it's eligible to sponsor visas. If you are looking at a place that seems like a mysterious owner or something, beware the job, not just the visa eligibility. In the end, you could always just ask the company if they have sponsored visas before, or how often they have, and from what countries.
 

Glenski

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I'm still looking for a way to query about a company's eligibility to hire foreigners.
What exactly is your situation? That is, do you have a specific company already in mind? Have they indicated interest in you? Is there an advertisement we could read about a job posting? When it comes right down to it, if it appears to be a valid company, it's eligible to sponsor visas. If you are looking at a place that seems like a mysterious owner or something, beware the job, not just the visa eligibility. In the end, you could always just ask the company if they have sponsored visas before, or how often they have, and from what countries.
 
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What exactly is your situation? That is, do you have a specific company already in mind? Have they indicated interest in you? Is there an advertisement we could read about a job posting?
None of the above.
If you are looking at a place that seems like a mysterious owner or something, beware the job, not just the visa eligibility. In the end, you could always just ask the company if they have sponsored visas before, or how often they have, and from what countries.
Will keep that in mind. Thank you for advice.
 
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