Possible move to Japan
Replies: 8 - Last Post: Jun 24, 2012 2:56 PM Last Post By: Glenski
Jun 22, 2012 8:51 PM
Possible move to JapanI am an American and I just quit my financial consulting job in Houston and bought a one-way ticket to London, UK and a 3 month Eurail Pass. I am considering buying another one-way ticket to Tokyo after my Europe trip and working and living in Japan. Ideally, I would be able to put my finance degree to use and get a well-paying professional job (though I suspect not speakign Japanese will make this difficult), but I would be open to teaching English/ hostel work for a while to adjust to the culture and lifestyle and just to see if I do actually want to live in Japan. How feasible is this idea? Would I need to show proof of departure from Japan upon arrival from Europe? Can I just purchase a refundable one-way ticket to China (or wherever the cheapest intl. flight is) to show immigration officials and then just get the refund once in Japan? I have saved enough money that I would be able to get by for a long time, though obviously I don't want to spend all of my life savings bumming around Japan with no job and then being stranded in a foreign country. What is the best way for me to achieve this goal of working in Japan?
Jun 23, 2012 12:13 AM
1Head-hunting (professional recruiting) is something many foreign professionals do in Tokyo with little or no Japanese ability. Given your background and the current market for English teachers, you might very well find it easier to land a well-paying professional job than an English teaching job. (BTW, some English teachers are well-paid professionals too!)
Your first concern regarding working in Japan will be a work visa. Glenski is the expert in that area, hopefully he will chime in shortly.
What is the best way for me to achieve this goal of working in Japan?
With your financial background, you might want to try landing a job with a US bank that has presence in Tokyo, tell them you're keen to work overseas. You might get lucky and find your well-paying professional job (and visa) before leaving the US.
Jun 23, 2012 2:32 AM
2USAJOBS.gov has many jobs in Japan that require US citizenship. Finance is a common requirement.
Jun 23, 2012 2:44 AM
3Lack of Japanese language skills usually has a negative effect on landing a work visa. Look at daijob.com to see what non-teaching employers are asking, usually JLPT 2 (or its current equivalent). Exception would be, as mentioned, finding a foreign branch of some company here and hope that they don't require much Japanese. You'll need SOME, of course.
You will not be able to board a plane with just a 1-way ticket to Tokyo, though. Airline will probably not let you board unless you have a work visa in hand, which means you get hired FIRST. To answer your question, yes, you would have to show exiting from Japan, whether by air or sea.
It also makes no difference how much money you have saved up. You get only 90 days here as a tourist.
You could also get hired by a company in the US that has a branch here and is willing to transfer you, but you'd have to work for them for 1 year to be eligible for the intracompany transfer visa.
Read up on people with non-teaching aspirations at daijob.com (Terrie Lloyd's columns).
Jun 23, 2012 9:42 AM
4Would it be possible to arrive in Japan on a tourist visa, and then find an employer that would sponsor me for a working visa? Also, Europe has a 90 days out of 180 day limit as a tourist, meaning you can not leave Spain on your 90th day to go to Morocco for a day and then come back to Spain for another 90 days. In Japan, can you book a quick weekend trip to China or South Korea and then come back for another 90 days in Japan as a tourist? Hopefully, I will find a job and get a work visa before it would come to that...
Jun 23, 2012 5:22 PM
5Yes, you could come here as a tourist and look for work, then get a visa without having to leave the country. Nobody will tell you it's easy, though, and just being here physically would help a lot. However language fluency, related work experience, and timing are your biggest points to consider if you want a job in the field where you got your degree.
Brits have 180 days in Japan. You said you were American. You get 90. You MIGHT slip by immigration once and get a second 90 days, but there is no promise of that. Immigration is tightening up these days.
Jun 23, 2012 6:00 PM
6I know an American who stayed in Japan for 1 year on such visa runs, i.e. 3 of them before immigration started getting annoyed. He could very well be the exception and not the rule. Also it was close to 20 years ago and Glenski says they're tightening up these days, so who knows. My guess is you'd likely get 1 visa run without problem. Beyond that is a crapshoot.
Jun 23, 2012 7:32 PM
7Its always better to get a job secured in a foreign country before moving there and looking for one. Your network and recruiters will be more vital in your homeland than once in Japan. If you just want to teach english the having your TESL/TEFL certification is the way to go. Otherwise, going to Japan and expecting get hires by a multi national is a shot in the dark. Not speaking the native language as far as doing business in the finance area will be very limiting, unless you are in Hong Kong.
Teaching English can be semi lucrative if you have a lot background and teaching credentials, but Japan is not a cheap place to live, you may find employment easier and cost of living much cheaper in China, thats for sure. $2000 mo USD is the going rate for a green teacher, and work Visa are arranged by the school. Making a Visa run every 90 days gets real old real fast, and costly, not mention they are cracking down on this in China big time...
Jun 24, 2012 2:56 PM
8Grog's 20-year-old example is most definitely an exception. Depending on who you talk to, you'll get 2 answers as to whether you can sneak by on a second entry. My point is that if they turn you away, are you willing to pay for that return ticket? IMO, that is what is going to happen.
There are darned few recruiters who will get people jobs teaching in Japan from the outside. Yes, they may be reliable contacts, but they are few and far between. As for having certification, I would hazard a guess that most newbies don't have it or are expected to. Most J employers wouldn't even know what it is or how to distinguish between CELTA and a weekend course. Just heard someone applying for a typical newbie position where there were 200 applicants (!), so PERHAPS certification would help out, but many/most employers hire on the basis of nationality and personality more than any qualifications. Many are afraid that a person with certs will try to change the school's system.
(0 star Hotel)
From US$44.60 per night
(4 star Hotel)
From US$134.33 per night
(3 star Hotel)
From US$101.20 per night