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Risks of changing from a tourist visa to a work visa

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Dear people,

I realize that similar questions have been asked on the forum and that a lot of information is available on the internet. However, after doing a lot of research I am still left with unanswered questions regarding my situation and I hope that you understand that every situation is different, as is mine.

I recently started my master program, but found out that it does not fit me. I realized that quitting and starting a new program next year will be the only way to take this opportunity to live and work in Japan for a year without influencing my career in the future.

My situation is as follows:

- Dutch, non-native English speaker but at native level (108 Toefl score)
- Recently graduated for a Bachelor of Science in Psychology
- Studied abroad for half a year in the U.S.A
- Caucasian (this seems to be relevant for some employers)
- Some work experience as a part-time tutor for elementary children
- Girlfriend living in Kanagawa near the border of Tokyo with whom I can live (i.e., no living expenses)
- Marrying is not yet an option
- Have been to Japan this summer for 2 months, but do not speak the language

Given my situation, what is the risk/likelihood that I will not find a job (as an English teacher) that will offer me a work visa during the 3 months that I can stay in Japan as a tourist. Are there people here with less ''credentials'' who have successfully done this?

In short; though challenging, is it possible and reasonable to obtain a work visa in Japan with my credentials?

Thank you very much in advance.
 

musicisgood

Sempai
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Dear people,

I realize that similar questions have been asked on the forum and that a lot of information is available on the internet. However, after doing a lot of research I am still left with unanswered questions regarding my situation and I hope that you understand that every situation is different, as is mine.

I recently started my master program, but found out that it does not fit me. I realized that quitting and starting a new program next year will be the only way to take this opportunity to live and work in Japan for a year without influencing my career in the future.

My situation is as follows:

- Dutch, non-native English speaker but at native level (108 Toefl score)
- Recently graduated for a Bachelor of Science in Psychology
- Studied abroad for half a year in the U.S.A
- Caucasian (this seems to be relevant for some employers)
- Some work experience as a part-time tutor for elementary children
- Girlfriend living in Kanagawa near the border of Tokyo with whom I can live (i.e., no living expenses)
- Marrying is not yet an option
- Have been to Japan this summer for 2 months, but do not speak the language

Given my situation, what is the risk/likelihood that I will not find a job (as an English teacher) that will offer me a work visa during the 3 months that I can stay in Japan as a tourist. Are there people here with less ''credentials'' who have successfully done this?

In short; though challenging, is it possible and reasonable to obtain a work visa in Japan with my credentials?

Thank you very much in advance.

I was in Japan and met a Japanese girl years ago that sponsored me. She had to have money in the bank as I recall and when all this took place I was able to get a job here in Japan. I'm not sure of all the details, but I did enroll in a Karate school at the time, maybe that also played a roll into me allowing to stay in Japan. But this was years ago and maybe things have changed a lot. Maybe just try to have your girlfriend sponsor you. Let us know if that is possible these days.
 
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I was in Japan and met a Japanese girl years ago that sponsored me. She had to have money in the bank as I recall and when all this took place I was able to get a job here in Japan. I'm not sure of all the details, but I did enroll in a Karate school at the time, maybe that also played a roll into me allowing to stay in Japan. But this was years ago and maybe things have changed a lot. Maybe just try to have your girlfriend sponsor you. Let us know if that is possible these days.
This doesn't seem to be possible. Getting a visa this way is, as far as I know, only possible when you have family living in Japan sponsoring you or when you are married to a Japanese national.
 
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I'm not sure of all the details
Then you'd best not post such stuff.

Kevin,
As a non-native speaker, you face certain challenges. The only real way to compare yourself with others is to compare someone of the same nationality with similar credentials. You couldn't compare to a German, for example, because they get a working holiday visa.

Given my situation, what is the risk/likelihood that I will not find a job (as an English teacher) that will offer me a work visa during the 3 months that I can stay in Japan as a tourist.
If we had a crystal ball with that much accuracy, we'd play the stock market. I'm not trying to be flippant here, but you just can't get accurate odds with such a question.

I recently started my master program, but found out that it does not fit me. I realized that quitting and starting a new program next year will be the only way to take this opportunity to live and work in Japan for a year without influencing my career in the future.
Then I suggest you do precisely that. Quit the program now, return home, and plan carefully for your next step. This is October, and it's essentially one of the worst times of year to be looking for work, and it will get only worse until February or March.

Have you considered an internship visa? A trainee visa? A cultural activities visa? A different major for another student visa? A business/investor visa?

It doesn't appear to me that you actually have any long-range career goals. If you do, what are they? You sound only as if you want a job right now, perhaps so you can stay and be with your girlfriend. That may not be possible, so you might have to tackle the earlier mentioned visa routes instead and content yourself to just come as a tourist. You might get lucky and be able to visit for more than 3 months at a time. Who can say? Is there a reason she can't come to visit you, too? Too many unknowns here to give solid advice.

(By the way, why do you claim to be Dutch yet your avatar flag says Belgium?)
 
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Then you'd best not post such stuff.

Kevin,
As a non-native speaker, you face certain challenges. The only real way to compare yourself with others is to compare someone of the same nationality with similar credentials. You couldn't compare to a German, for example, because they get a working holiday visa.

If we had a crystal ball with that much accuracy, we'd play the stock market. I'm not trying to be flippant here, but you just can't get accurate odds with such a question.

Then I suggest you do precisely that. Quit the program now, return home, and plan carefully for your next step. This is October, and it's essentially one of the worst times of year to be looking for work, and it will get only worse until February or March.

Have you considered an internship visa? A trainee visa? A cultural activities visa? A different major for another student visa? A business/investor visa?

It doesn't appear to me that you actually have any long-range career goals. If you do, what are they? You sound only as if you want a job right now, perhaps so you can stay and be with your girlfriend. That may not be possible, so you might have to tackle the earlier mentioned visa routes instead and content yourself to just come as a tourist. You might get lucky and be able to visit for more than 3 months at a time. Who can say? Is there a reason she can't come to visit you, too? Too many unknowns here to give solid advice.

(By the way, why do you claim to be Dutch yet your avatar flag says Belgium?)
Thank you for your reply. I am actually Dutch, but I am currently residing in Belgium for my Master program, hence the flag. As for my long-range career goals, those lay outside of Japan. I want to get a PhD in psychology, but a research master is a better education route for that than the master I am currently enrolled in. Because the work field of PhD's is tough and competitive I most likely won't get any opportunities in the future to take a gap year in Japan. My plan is to return to the Netherlands after that year to continue my education and start my career. However, when visiting Japan I wish to be productive and develop myself in some concrete way, either by working or some alternative way. This is not solely about visiting my girlfriend, although that definitely contributes to the situation. It's more about seizing an opportunity that won't likely occur anymore.
 
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Why do you think getting an advanced degree in psychology from a Japanese university will be of any benefit to you back in the Netherlands? I wouldn't think it would hold nearly as much weight as one from your home country.

when visiting Japan I wish to be productive and develop myself in some concrete way, either by working or some alternative way.
You might not be able to accomplish that, and you have to learn to live with such a situation. Non-native English speakers face challenges from immigration and employers for teaching jobs. I'd suggest an internship for another line of work, but I have no idea how a psych career would even begin to offer such an internship, and if you do that, you would only detract from your presumed goals anyway.

It's more about seizing an opportunity that won't likely occur anymore.
I'm not sure what opportunity you refer to. I think you need to evaluate and describe what you want to do in more detail before we can offer better advice.
 
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Why do you think getting an advanced degree in psychology from a Japanese university will be of any benefit to you back in the Netherlands? I wouldn't think it would hold nearly as much weight as one from your home country.
This is not what I meant. I don't have any intention of getting a degree in Japan. The opportunity I'm referring to is that in between my bachelor and master program I can do something completely different (in this case going to Japan). Whereas I don't want to do that anymore after I get my master degree in the Netherlands because a 1-year gap between graduating for my master degree and becoming active in the Dutch job market will affect my chances too much. A 1-year gap between doing a bachelor and a master however do not matter on my resume. The whole Japan plan is a temporary 1 year thing before I start building my career in the Netherlands. Hence, I can only do it now before I complete my master and have to start looking for work in the Netherlands.
 

Mike Cash

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Why do you think getting an advanced degree in psychology from a Japanese university will be of any benefit to you back in the Netherlands?
I assumed the same thing at first. He isn't going to school here, nor does he plan to. He wants to use the year he's waiting to get into a different school/program in Europe to come to Japan.

EDIT

Intercontinental Simul-post!
 

musicisgood

Sempai
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Then you'd best not post such stuff.
I was just getting out of the Air Force at the time and I do know she had the right to sponsor me, at the time she had to have a job, a bank account with a minimum of one million yen. As far as the details, I'm sure there's more to it, but I was able to stay and work in Japan without being married at the time.
 
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A 1-year gap between doing a bachelor and a master however do not matter on my resume. The whole Japan plan is a temporary 1 year thing before I start building my career in the Netherlands.
I really don't understand the point of wasting a year in Japan if it has nothing to do with your future education or career. Please explain what is the purpose of coming here for a year to do some kind of work (if that's what your intention is).

Also, with no Japanese language skills, what on earth do you expect to do here?
 
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I really don't understand the point of wasting a year in Japan if it has nothing to do with your future education or career. Please explain what is the purpose of coming here for a year to do some kind of work (if that's what your intention is).

Also, with no Japanese language skills, what on earth do you expect to do here?
With all due respect, I do not consider this to be helpful or even relevant commentary at this point. You don't have to share or understand my motivation, so it's a bit crude to talk about ''wasting a year''. I enjoy to immerse myself in a different culture to broaden my development before I continue to specialize myself in a future career path. I have stated my purpose and circumstances clearly in the first post. I don't have to justify my motivation, I would just like to gather insight from people who succeeded or failed at pursuing a similar plan.
 

Mike Cash

骨も命も皆此の土地に埋めよう
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Without getting into your personal business...

If you foresee marriage to your lady friend in Japan at some point in your future, and whether you currently intend ever to live here or not, it would certainly not be a year "wasted" if you put in the time attending a Japanese language school. You should be able to engage in part-time work on the side should you need or want to do so.
 
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Without getting into your personal business...

If you foresee marriage to your lady friend in Japan at some point in your future, and whether you currently intend ever to live here or not, it would certainly not be a year "wasted" if you put in the time attending a Japanese language school. You should be able to engage in part-time work on the side should you need or want to do so.
That's a valid point. I do see a future with my girlfriend, but we have already more or less decided that she will move where I will start my career, which will either be Europe or the U.S.A. Since she does not have any career ambitions and I would like to continue developing myself in psychology. A field that is basically non-existent in Japan. My wish to go to Japan should purely be seen as an isolated event for my personal enjoyment and development and not as part of some sort of long-term plan.
 
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Everything you just wrote in response to Mike Cash has answered my question nearly completely.

Now, as for doing anything at all here with virtually no Japanese language skills, I'm sure you can imagine something, so could you fill us in on what you think you can do? I can think of a few things, but your coworkers' use of English or Japanese would be the wild card.

WWOOF
cultural activities visa (also dependent on any previous experience in that cultural area)
internship (whether you feel it benefits your career or not, it would likely have to be related)
 
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