Working visa (resident status) in Japan

A status of residence that allows you to work in Japan is sometimes called a working visa. What is the status of residence that allows you to work in Japan (work visa)? General rule,
  • Foreigners are not allowed to work in Japan for the purpose of simple labor (blue-collar work). However, if you have one of the following statuses of residence: “Skilled labor,” “Trainee,” “Special Skills,” or “College Student” (part-time work for foreign students), you can do simple labor within a limited range.
  • In most cases, You need to have an employment contract with a company in Japan before applying for a working visa. The exception is that foreign students can find a job in Japan after graduation. In this case, it is necessary to change the status of residence from “College Student” to “Engineer, Humanity, International”, etc.,
The following explains some of the statuses of residence that allows you to work in Japan.

Business manager

The resident status required to start up a business is a “Business Management visa.” This is for foreigners who will be representative directors, presidents, general managers, factory managers, and branch managers, middle managers.

You are required to invest your own money of more than 5,000,000 yen (≒45,454USD).

The details are in this post.

Engineer/Specialist in Humanities/International Services

Roughly speaking, This is a qualification that allows people who have graduated from universities in other countries to work in white-collar jobs in Japan. There is a wide range of occupations. Interpreters, translators, consultants, software engineers, designers, marketing, advertising and public relations, construction designers, high-class hotels with many foreign guests, and overseas business representatives. However, the following professions may or may not be accepted on a case-by-case basis: photographers, hotels with few foreign guests, car mechanics, etc.

Generally, you need to have an employment contract before applying for this visa

Intra-company transferee

This is a status of a staff member transferred to an office in Japan for a limited period of time from an office in a foreign country. Their job is limited to the same activities listed in the “Engineering/Specialist in Humanities/International Services”.

The difference with “Engineering/Specialist in Humanities/International Services” is that with “Engineering/Specialist in Humanities/International Services”, you can change jobs in Japan, but not with an Intra-company transferee.

If you want to change jobs with an Intra-company transferee, you need to change your qualification to “Engineering/Specialist in Humanities/International Services”, etc., after changing jobs.

Skilled labor

Activities to engage in services, which require industrial techniques or skills belonging to special fields based on a contract with public or private organizations in Japan. Chef of foreign cuisine, sports instructor, aircraft pilot, or craftsman of precious metals.


Technical intern training

Activities to acquire skills, etc. at a public or a private organization in Japan. The term “Trainee” is only a name.  In effect, it is a way to get cheap foreign labor to do simple labor in Japan, which is sometimes criticized.


Specified skilled worker

Status of Residence for foreign nationals engaging in work requiring skills that need a considerable degree of knowledge or experience belonging to a specific industrial field.

Specified Industry Fields (14 Fields): Nursing care, 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 & aquaculture, Manufacture of food and beverages, Foodservice industry

Specified skills allow for simple labor in Japan in specific industries.  However, I have the impression that  “specified skills” are not widely used due to its strict requirements, such as the Japanese language skills for daily conversation, the skills test is conducted in Japanese, and the test is held only once a year and in the Philippines or Vietnam.
see more details. here.

Highly-skilled professional

The activities of highly-skilled professionals are classified into three categories: “highly-skilled academic research activities,” “highly-skilled professional/technical activities,” and “highly-skilled management/administrative activities,” and points are set according to the characteristics of each category, such as “educational background,” “employment history,” and “annual income.

We, YG-International, would be happy to support in getting a business management visa.