There are over 30 different work permits available for Japan. The type of work one intends to do will determine the permit one would apply for. Examples of work permits include legal/accounting services, entertainer, medical services and researcher.

For most types of work permits, including the Specialist in Humanities permit for English teachers, expats will need a job offer from a company in Japan before applying for a work permit. Before officially applying for the permit, the company, acting as the applicant’s sponsor, also needs to organise a Certificate of Eligibility. This certificate testifies that the applicant meets the requirements for a visa. The certificate is valid for three months. Once it has been obtained, the work permit is applied for at the Japanese embassy in an expat's home country.

The Japanese government has also introduced a new visa to encourage more foreigners to work in Japan.

Specified skills worker visa

The specified skills visa (tokutei ginou) is split into two categories. These visas aim to encourage foreign workers to fill employment gaps in the Japanese labour market.

Specified skills visa 1-SSV1

Expats who work in fields including agriculture, nursing care, shipbuilding, restaurants and hotels, and construction can apply for this visa. The visa is only valid for one year. It can be renewed for a maximum of five years.

Foreigners with this visa aren’t able to bring dependents with them. Workers who wish to stay in Japan for more than five years, or who want to bring their family with them, can apply for the Visa 2-SSV2.

Specified skills visa 2-SSV2

This visa can be renewed indefinitely and visa holders are able to bring their family to Japan. At the moment, only foreigners already in Japan on the 1-SSV1 visa and who have a high level of specialisation in their field are able to apply for this visa.

*Visa and work permit regulations are subject to change at short notice and expats are advised to contact their nearest Japanese embassy or consulate for the latest information.

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