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Spouse Visa

Shutainzu

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Hey guys, just a few quick questions to do with a Spouse visa if anyone is able to answer it would be great.

So currently going on to my third year Japanese Studies student here in the UK, with the intention of going to Japan to be with my girlfriend, Who I've been with for four years. She spent a year here as an abroad study student and I spent a year over there as an abroad student, so even though it's been long distance on and off for some of the relationship it's quite serious so I'm not just jumping the gun.

So, I plan on getting a visa through getting a job once I graduated, but in case I don't I was just curios if anyone on here has had to get a spouse visa? If so how long did it take them before they were able to actually get into Japan and how much did they have to do to prove that the marriage is legit? Asking so if the job way falls through I know what I need to do to get the process done without as many hiccups as if I went in blind.
 
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Mike Cash

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If your relation is legit and you can satisfy the Immigration examiners then it is nothing to worry about. It takes however long it takes in your individual case; there is no one-size-fits-all answer.

What do you plan on doing for work if you apply for a working visa? I take it for granted you are aware you have to secure a job offer first and then base your visa application on that. If you fail to get employment on that basis, then what kind of work do you plan to get on a spouse visa instead?

Will your bride have an income that can support the two of you at the time you are applying for a spouse visa?
 

Shutainzu

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If your relation is legit and you can satisfy the Immigration examiners then it is nothing to worry about. It takes however long it takes in your individual case; there is no one-size-fits-all answer.

What do you plan on doing for work if you apply for a working visa? I take it for granted you are aware you have to secure a job offer first and then base your visa application on that. If you fail to get employment on that basis, then what kind of work do you plan to get on a spouse visa instead?

Will your bride have an income that can support the two of you at the time you are applying for a spouse visa?

Well I'm guessing that would be easy to prove considering I've been going back and forth to Japan several times a year for the past four years, plus the fact that we went to both the same universities in UK and Japan for a year each?

Oh definitely I know about the work visa requirements, considering our main degree is Japanese language and East Asian Studies they have stuff in place which teaches us about what the requirements needed are etc preparing us for applying for jobs after university. As for what job I plan on getting on the work visa it depends really, most people who study the same course as me at this university tend to either go into translation for government, companies or teaching English so I guess I'd aim at possibly doing the same?

If I don't obtain the work visa I guess on the spouse visa I'd take anything I could get to just put my foot in the door at first? I mean, hopefully that shouldn't be the case, for the past couple of years all students at my university who have got a 2:1 and above have been able to get a job in Japan within a month or two of leaving university. As for whether or not my girlfriend could fund me if I got a spouse visa I don't know what the actualy requirements are for how much she would have to earn to satisfy that she could. She plans on getting a 'Rakuten' job? So like exporting jobs which are well paid, so if she gets that I think she would earn enough anyway, not too sure though.
 

Glenski

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Everything is in the hands of the bureaucrats. It might be more straightforward to get a work visa first (or working holiday visa), and then later convert to spousal visa. Hard to say. Mike was asking about your girlfriend having a job because if you go directly to spousal visa without a job here, the gods at immigration might want to know the 2 of you have some source of steady income. One never knows. Since she doesn't have one yet, you could also ask her parents to serve as a guarantor. My wife and I went that route because I was between jobs at the time.

I got my spousal visa after living here a while, so my situation is different.
 

Shutainzu

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Everything is in the hands of the bureaucrats. It might be more straightforward to get a work visa first (or working holiday visa), and then later convert to spousal visa. Hard to say. Mike was asking about your girlfriend having a job because if you go directly to spousal visa without a job here, the gods at immigration might want to know the 2 of you have some source of steady income. One never knows. Since she doesn't have one yet, you could also ask her parents to serve as a guarantor. My wife and I went that route because I was between jobs at the time.

I got my spousal visa after living here a while, so my situation is different.

Yeah, chances are I should be able to get a job once I've graduated because my university has quite a high rate of Japanese language study graduates almost straight away going to Japan after graduated to either get a job or complete a masters degree so with any luck I'll be lucky enough to get a working visa quite fast, was just curious and the spouse visa from some who had to get it's point of view.
 

Mike Cash

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How long do you envision yourself living here? Are you contemplating a permanent move? What are your Japanese skills like at the moment? What will they be like when you get here? What job skills does a "Japanese Studies" degree provide one? What other marketable job skills do you possess? What is the demand for those job skills in Japan? What do you know about the field you may enter in Japan? How far past the end of your nose have you looked at this?
 

Shutainzu

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How long do you envision yourself living here?

Well currently my girlfriend has interest in just staying in Japan so for me it'd be permanent if I was to marry her. I've been to Japan for a decent amount of time to come to the conclusion that I'd be surprised if I moved there permanently and didn't enjoy it, but I know living there and studying abroad there/visiting regularly are two complete different things.

Japanese skills like at the moment? What will they be like when you get here?

Currently I'm in my second year of study soon to be third year of study and currently getting between 65% and 75% in my degree, I haven't taken a JLPT test but right now I'm probably between N3 and N2. By the end of the degree it's expected that you're completely fluent at an N1 level, fluent enough to go into most translation jobs or teaching jobs (Upon till high school, believe if I wanted to go higher I'd also need a degree in English language instead of just A-level).

What job skills does a "Japanese Studies" degree provide one?

Well at the university I currently study you basically do two degrees in one. Japanese Language degree and East Asian Studies degree. You have to do both unless you're doing dual honours in which cause you do the Japanese language and whatever your dual honours is. So for me, I'm doing Japanese Language and East Asian Studies Bachelors of Arts. This means that by the end of it you're able to understand Japanese written, spoken and reading etc at a high N1 level whilst also learning about the country itself and the surround areas such as Korea and China. Most people who complete this degree go into either government translation, company translation or teaching dependant on their grades and what else they've studied. I know one person who went government translation because he majored in Japanese language and done his dissertation on Japanese Politics for example. I'd say the vast majority though go into English language teaching at high school level.

What other marketable job skills do you possess?

I'm also fluent in French and German from being born in Germany and growing up in France most my life so I would say that they are marketable job skills. Not sure what else because of currently being a university student but I done English A-Levels, French A-Levels and History A-Levels and got a high grade in that so there's more possible Marketable skills, and I guess the part time jobs I've worked here in the UK could be marketable but then again they're just your standard time of job so probably not.

What is the demand for those job skills in Japan?

Like I've mentioned before most students who study this degree in Sheffield end up going to Japan within a couple of months of graduating, and the lecturers repeatedly mention how as long as you get above 2:1 finding a job in Japan with this degree isn't stupidly hard as long as your serious about it. Below 2:1 and then it gets harder.

What do you know about the field you may enter in Japan?
Well enough about the teaching field of Japan and business translation side, one of the modules I've had to pass whilst studying is contemporary Japanese Society which not only focuses on it from a Japanese point of view but also a foreigner and the work demand etc in the job areas that involve most foreigners such as teaching and business translation etc. During our final year we also focus more on the obtaining a job aspect role rather than language learning etc. So whilst we do still learn the language in our fourth year we are already expected to be at N1 level so they focus more on proper translation, how to prepare for interviews, what is expected, and what jobs in Japan actually entail etc.


How far past the end of your nose have you looked at this?

I've looked into a lot over the passed year as the relationship with my girlfriend has got more serious, in-fact she was the one who pretty much asked me to start looking into all this so we could have some sort of plan for when I leave university in just over a year. She knows quite a few people who have graduated from my university who now work in Japan from her year abroad here so she's been enquiring with them as well so he hasn't been half arsed. I know I don't know everything there is, or even the majority, but I've still spent a lot of time looking into this instead of half-assing it and just assuming everything is easy.
 

TranSenz

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Hi Shutainzu,

I came to Japan with a Spouse Visa first and found a job later.
The advantage to that approach is that your visa and residence status is not dependent on a single employer. You are free to move jobs if you want (for instance, if you find yourself working for a employer who abuses employees' rights), without risking losing your status.
Being on a spouse visa as opposed to a working visa also puts you on the fast track to permanent residency.

Regardless of whether or not you can secure a job offer in advance, I would recommend coming on a spouse visa if at all possible.

It sounds like you should have no problem proving the legitimacy of your relationship. The only other hurdle to cross is the finances. If your spouse-to-be is making enough from her job to support you (and she should be if she is a full-time employee at Rakuten) and has tax records from over a full year of working there, that will be no problem. If she doesn't yet have a full year of tax records, then she may need alternate documentation, such as tax records from a parent.
You just need someone to prove they have the resources to support you at first, then you'll be free to find whatever work interests you while you're here.

(By the way, Japanese universities are constantly looking for bilingual employees to work in international student admissions and exchange programs.)

If you do go for the spouse visa, I have a post on my blog based on my experience applying for it and the steps you need to take, as well as a book about the process. You can find the blog post at:
Certificate of Eligibility - Spouse Visa Japan | TranSenz: Expat Living in Japan

Good Luck!
- Travis from TranSenz
 

Mike Cash

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Being on a spouse visa as opposed to a working visa also puts you on the fast track to permanent residency.

Wouldn't it be more clear and accurate to say that being married to a Japanese spouse shortens the time requirement?
 

Glenski

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What do you know about the field you may enter in Japan?
Well enough about the teaching field of Japan and business translation side, one of the modules I've had to pass whilst studying is contemporary Japanese Society which not only focuses on it from a Japanese point of view but also a foreigner and the work demand etc in the job areas that involve most foreigners such as teaching and business translation etc.
So, it sounds as if you really don't know that much about the teaching market. Demand is lower than the supply right now. Or didn't they teach you that?

I wouldn't expect to support a family, even a family of 2, on a mere eikaiwa job. Translation jobs don't pay much differently last time I looked.
 

Shutainzu

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So, it sounds as if you really don't know that much about the teaching market. Demand is lower than the supply right now. Or didn't they teach you that?

I wouldn't expect to support a family, even a family of 2, on a mere eikaiwa job. Translation jobs don't pay much differently last time I looked.

Well, they’ve basically been going on the percentage of graduates that have graduated from the university and went on to move to Japan to teach English translate in Japan and for those who got 2:1 or above on three degree haven’t had trouble finding a job in the teaching/translating area, even last year all the ones who got 2:1 or higher were in Japan and couple of months after graduating. The only ones who got a harder chance at graduating were the ones with a 2:2 and lower but that’d be the same here as well. So going by that information it shouldn’t be hard but obviously there’s no gaurentee.

I know teaching doesn’t pay well, but I’ve known people who have graduated over the past three years I’ve been there who have started doing translation jobs for corporate companies who are getting decent pay for it because our university hasn’t about 15 or so people come back every year to talk about, I know that doesn’t mean all Hoban pay like that but still shows some do I guess ?
 

bentenmusume

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I wouldn't expect to support a family, even a family of 2, on a mere eikaiwa job. Translation jobs don't pay much differently last time I looked.
If you're referring only to recent graduates with no specialized knowledge or connections doing grunt work for translation agencies, perhaps, but suggesting that professional translators—taken as a group, including both freelance and in-house translators across all fields—make salaries comparable to your average eikaiwa teacher is not accurate in the slightest.

(Source: I am a translator with many colleagues who are also translators, and while we may not be millionaires, none of us are particularly struggling to support ourselves or our families.)

My apologies if that sounded somewhat confrontational, but the above comment came off as rather insulting and dismissive of an entire profession.
 

Glenski

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jt,
I'm sorry, but talking about 2:1 and 2:2 and "three degree" falls on deaf ears with me. I'm an American and don't know what you're talking about other than those numbers relate to someone's grades. If your uni says people with higher grades have a better shot at getting a teaching job here, I'd say they need to show the data. I don't believe it. Been here 20 years, too.

I know teaching doesn’t pay well, but I’ve known people who have graduated over the past three years I’ve been there who have started doing translation jobs for corporate companies who are getting decent pay for it
You're changing horses midstream here by admitting facts about one profession and then referring to another. If you know people who got "corporate companies" (?) to pay well, cool. Get those contacts and apply there. I know people who either have their own translation company or have worked for places like NOVA to do translation. The latter got no more than an eikaiwa teacher, when translation was their full-time job. The market is mixed, is what I'm saying, but that is obvious.

Now, you said your translator colleagues got "decent pay". Don't leave us hanging. What did they get, was it right off the bat, what were their hours, etc.?

If you're referring only to recent graduates with no specialized knowledge or connections doing grunt work for translation agencies, perhaps
Yup, that would be what I meant, since Shutainzu is only 22.

And, no worries about sounding confrontational. I didn't take it that way. You know more about translation careers than I do. Help out Shutainzu, if you please.
 

Mike Cash

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most people who study the same course as me at this university tend to either go into translation for government, companies or teaching English

Most people who complete this degree go into either government translation, company translation or teaching

I'd say the vast majority though go into English language teaching at high school level.

finding a job in Japan with this degree isn't stupidly hard

the percentage of graduates that have graduated from the university and went on to move to Japan to teach English

At some point somebody has to be mean enough to point out to you that anybody with any degree in any subject from any department of any university is equally as prepared, qualified, and likely to get an English teaching job in Japan as you are. If that's one of the types of jobs you were told your Japanese language and Eat Asia Studies degree will prepare you for then you have been mildly hoodwinked to say the least.
 

TranSenz

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Wouldn't it be more clear and accurate to say that being married to a Japanese spouse shortens the time requirement?

Interesting. The ministry of justice website says that the lower requirements for permanent residency apply if you are a spouse of Japanese national, permanent resident, or special permanent resident. Since it was the MoJ page and they were using the same terms as the names of the residence statuses, I had always assumed that sentence meant that you had to have one of those residence statuses, not "just" be the spouse of a Japanese national.
Now that you mention it, they did not put quotation marks around the names or add "の在留資格" like they did for a few other statuses.

法務省:永住許可に関するガイドライン(平成29年4月26日改定)

Thanks for setting me straight!
 

bentenmusume

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jt,
I'm sorry, but talking about 2:1 and 2:2 and "three degree" falls on deaf ears with me. I'm an American and don't know what you're talking about other than those numbers relate to someone's grades. If your uni says people with higher grades have a better shot at getting a teaching job here, I'd say they need to show the data. I don't believe it. Been here 20 years, too.
Sorry, this is addressed to me, but you seem to be conflating my post and the OP's. (I am also originally from the States and those numbers are completely arcane to me. I would also agree that university grades in no way correlate to one's earning potential Japanese.)

Now, you said your translator colleagues got "decent pay". Don't leave us hanging. What did they get, was it right off the bat, what were their hours, etc.?
Again, these are Shutainzu's words, not mine, but I'll elaborate nonetheless. My impression is that in an average eikaiwa position (assuming that you're not a supervisor or corporate consultant or the like), you could expect to earn 300万 a year—if that— which would (at least in Tokyo, your mileage may vary in more rural areas) constitute barely a living wage. The salaries of my colleagues and I—many of whom have families and homes—are not particularly comparable to that. Mind you, most of us have upwards of ten years' experience in the industry at this point, and by no means am I implying that someone could step off the boat with a college degree and straight into a lucrative translation gig. I simply wanted to make the point that a career as a translator can be potentially quite rewarding (both financially and academically), and is hardly a dead-end field essentially indistinguishable from eikaiwa, which is how I took your original comment (again, my apologies if I was misinterpreting).

My advice to the OP, if you're truly interested in pursuing a career as a translator (which I would certainly recommend over teaching eikaiwa if you've gone out of your way to study the language), would be that you need to:
(1) Truly master Japanese. Having a degree with good grades means nothing. You have to be able to read native-language materials in your field with essentially 100% comprehension and minimal reliance on dictionaries.
(2) Have impeccable writing skills in your native language. Being a native speaker isn't enough. If you're translating academic papers, you need to have skills such that you'd be able to produce a paper on the same topic in your native language. If you're translating manga, you'd have to be able to write a comic book in your own language, and so forth.
(3) Following from the above, find a field (or fields) that you enjoy, and master it. Just having a general knowledge of Japanese isn't going to get you very far. The more specialized knowledge you have, the more likely you'll be able to find clients who will pay well for _your_ services, rather than just going to the lowest bidder.

I would also add that being able to speak Japanese at a near-native level, so that you're able to go out and connect with people and build close working and personal relationships will also get you a long way, especially if you're living in Japan.

This might sound intimidating, and I wouldn't expect anyone to be at this level fresh out of university (I certainly wasn't). But it's definitely the level you want to aim for if you hope to make a living from it. Good luck!
 

Mike Cash

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This might sound intimidating, and I wouldn't expect anyone to be at this level fresh out of university

I get the impression from his posts that he is under the impression that's the level his university is going to pop him out at. I hope I'm wrong.
 

Glenski

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My impression is that in an average eikaiwa position (assuming that you're not a supervisor or corporate consultant or the like), you could expect to earn 300万 a year
Where are you getting those numbers? It's more like 200-250K at best. Never in 20 years has it ever been that high (300K).

I simply wanted to make the point that a career as a translator can be potentially quite rewarding (both financially and academically), and is hardly a dead-end field essentially indistinguishable from eikaiwa, which is how I took your original comment (again, my apologies if I was misinterpreting).
Apologies if I wasn't clear.

  • I wasn't saying the 2 careers were indistinguishable.
  • I wasn't saying (and don't think I have EVER stated) that translating was a dead-end career.
 

Glenski

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I need to get a new prescription on my glasses. Thanks for pointing that out, Mike.
 
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