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IT jobs in tokyo? Visa eligibility? 2012/1/12 15:50
Hey everyone,

I'm looking into the idea of moving over to japan to work in the IT field sometime towards the end of 2013. Specifically in the tokyo or gunma area.

I currently have a job with a Japanese company here in the US that i've been a Systems Engineer at for 2 years now. I will have my Bachelors degree in network security sometime in spring of 2013. I can speak semi-fluent japanese(2 years in high school) and am working on getting my JLPT level 1 cert.

Based on what i've been reading about visa's and eligibility, having the degree and relevant experience should help when applying for one right?

Also, do most companies require that you already have a visa when applying for jobs? If at all possible, I'd like to secure a job first before going through with applying for the visa and residency status.

Any related info on this would be greatly appreciated! thanks.^_^
by sftmb4  

Re: IT jobs in tokyo? Visa eligibility? 2012/1/12 19:16
Is there any chance that your current employer can send you to its Japanese operations for a few years or something like that? That would be the easiest way (Intra-company Transferee).

Immigration requirements for a work visa (in addition to having an offer from an employer in Japan) is that you have either a bachelor's degree, or, several or more years or relevant work experience. So once you've got the bachelor's degree, you meet the minimum requirement.

I have no IT knowledge to judge if a two-year experience as a systems engineer makes a candidate so attractive that an employer in Japan would hire that person over a Japanese in Japan.

You need the help of the (potential) employer in Japan to apply for a visa, so you cannot "already have a visa" before applying for a job, unless you have a visa sponsored by another company in Japan already :)
by AK rate this post as useful

Re: IT jobs in tokyo? Visa eligibility? 2012/1/12 22:08
Unfortunately, no. :( We don't have a branch in japan, we are just contracted out to different companies in japan by hosting their data here in our datacenter in the US.

It's possible however I might be able to find some positions open with the contracted companies in japan, and get my foot in the door that way.

Ah, I see. so already having a visa for that field and residing in japan would be ideal for employers then?

What are your thoughts on getting a student visa and attending a japanese language school. This should enable me to work part-time and have a current residency status in japan.

would there be any way to switch from the student visa after a while over to one that allows me to search for a job, or work full-time?

Thanks for the help!
by sftmb4 rate this post as useful

Re: IT jobs in tokyo? Visa eligibility? 2012/1/12 22:20

Oh, I thought you were working for a US branch/subsidiary of a Japanese company, but not quite so then... I thought there may be some opportunities as people around you would know that you are interested in living in Japan...

If you want to learn the language seriously, attending a language school would be useful... but note that you will need to be accepted by a school, pay in the tuition, and show that you have enough funds to support yourself during your studies without working. Once you start studying full-time, and with good grades and attendance, you may be granted a permit to work part-time, that is true.

You can look around for a job on Student visa. And if you find an employer who is interested in your skills and wants to hire you, they will sponsor you for a work visa. You can't just "switch" to a work-permitting visa without a specific employer.
by AK rate this post as useful

Re: IT jobs in tokyo? Visa eligibility? 2012/1/13 00:49

yeah, if that was the case, it'd make things a whole heck of a lot easier. haha

hmm...yeah going the student route would be a bit more troublesome. Granted, It would be great to learn the language seriously. However, having to support myself with enough funds without working would be tough indeed.

I see, so it looks like my only viable option here is to get an employer to sponsor my visa. Thanks for the help. This has clarified things for me! ^_^

I have one more question actually. Say, I get Company A to sponsor my visa, and I'm working for them in japan. Then, I get laid off, or quit Company A. Would I then be able to search for a new job while staying in japan and get Company B to take over sponsoring my visa? Or would I have to leave the country due to not working for company A anymore who was sponsoring my visa and then be back at square one.
by sftmb4 rate this post as useful

Re: IT jobs in tokyo? Visa eligibility? 2012/1/17 07:55
My answer comes not from experience, but from considerable reading and research into this topic. FWIW...

To acquire the work visa, an employer must sponsor you. This is the employer telling immigrations that, yes, you really do have a job. The visa will be for a certain period of time, and if you are fired or laid off prior to the visa's expiration, then you can obtain employment elsewhere (under the job restrictions of the work visa -- ie, another IT job). After you've initially acquired the visa, you simply need to have a job and renew the visa periodically. This opens you up to employers who would not want to initially sponsor a visa, of which there are many.

Two years' experience is not enough to get a work visa, so that part will rest entirely on having a four year degree. That is just to fulfil the visa requirements, though. Getting an actual job is the tricky part. AK touched briefly on this, but my opinion is that a four year degree plus 2 years' experience (3 years by the time you're planning on going?) is not necessarily enough to warrant hiring a foreigner instead of a japanese. But keep studying japanese, and periodically check job listings to see who's hiring for IT positions.

I'm in a similar position, though on the other side of the spectrum. I have lots of experience in IT (15yrs and counting), but I only just started learning japanese, so it's going to take considerable time and effort before I speak/read well enough that I can try applying for jobs in japan. =/
by seanpdx rate this post as useful

Re: IT jobs in tokyo? Visa eligibility? 2012/1/17 09:06

Thanks alot for the info! that clarifies things a bit more for me. Yeah, I'm still working on learning more IT/Japanese and getting more experience under my belt. I'm 21, so there's still a ways to go. :p
by sftmb4 rate this post as useful

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