Types of Working Visas and Their Characteristics
Types of visas which permit working in Japan
There are several different types of residence qualifications for foreign nationals which permit work (working visas), and they can be broadly classified into the following two categories.
A. Visas with specialized work type restrictions
Diplomat, Official, Professor, Artist, Religious Activities, Journalist, Highly Skilled Professional, Business Manager, Legal / Accounting Services, Medical Services, Researcher, Instructor, Engineer / Specialist in Humanities / Int’l Services, Intra-Company Transferee, Care Worker, Entertainer, Skilled Worker, Designated Labor, Technical Intern Training, Designated Activities
Although specialized jobs and operations are often used as the names of their applicable visa categories, there are also others which cover a wider range of occupations such as the “Business Manager” and “Specialist in Humanities / Int’l Services” visas.
For this reason, the type of visa you can apply for will vary depending on the content and technical field of the job you would like to pursue.
On the other hand, there are also visas which give foreign nationals the same freedom Japanese people have to work in whatever field they choose. These resident statuses have no restrictions on the scope of activities.
B. Visas that provide freedom to carry out the same working activities as Japanese people
Permanent Resident, Spouse or Child of a Japanese National, Spouse or Child of a Permanent Resident, Long-term Resident
“Permanent Resident” gives the right to reside in Japan permanently, and “Long-term Resident” refers to individuals living in Japan due to specified conditions such as being 3rd-generation Japanese.
“Spouse or Child of a Japanese National” and “Spouse or Child of a Permanent Resident” visas are available for the applicable family members indicated and provide the same unrestricted working permissions as the “Permanent Resident” visa.
With the exception of individuals for whom the residence qualifications in “B” apply, if you are considering a working visa for medium- to long-term full-time employment in Japan, considering the right visa to apply for within the options of “A” above is the norm.
However, since the type of visa you can apply for and the type with the highest likelihood for approval vary depending on your individual situation, the guidance of someone with specialized knowledge of immigration law and abundant experience with the application process for residence qualifications is essential for making the right choice.
For this reason, we strongly recommend you consult with an application agency administrative scrivener or lawyer during the application process.
Residence qualifications which do not generally permit work
Within the residence qualification types, the following generally do not permit work.
Cultural Activities, Student, Trainee, Dependent, Temporary Visitor
However, for any of the above except for “Temporary Visitor,” if you acquire “Permission to Engage in Activity Other than that Permitted by the Status of Residence Previously Granted,” part-time work up to 28 hours per week (with the exception of sex work) is generally permitted.
Reference: http://www.immi-moj.go.jp/tetuduki/kanri/qaq5.pdf (list of residence qualifications)