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Freelancing/remote opportunities as Software Engineer

Hi :slight_smile: First thank you for what you do Paul!

For my next job I would like to work remotely, and I have struggled finding such opportunities in Tokyo. I’ve seen one or two remote opportunities in the mailing list from tokyodev, but they weren’t a good fit so far. Do you have any recommendations? Or some freelancing agencies that specialize in (at least partial) remote work?

Thanks in advance!

All the freelancers I know have built up their own network, rather than relying on an agency. Getting your own clients allows you to earn significantly more money. Furthermore, as an English speaker in Japan, you are in a pretty small niche, and so I’m not sure there are any agencies set up for people like you.

If your main goal is to work remotely, you don’t necessarily need to work for a Japanese company (as long as you can make the visa situation work out). There’s a lot more opportunities for remote developers internationally than if you restrict your search to Japan.

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Thank you Paul. That’s kind of what I was expecting already. I found a couple of agencies (ex. here) but it seems more likely that I’ll want to work for friends / through networking indeed. I was more interested in finding the kind of rates that I could be asking for for some basic freelancing work, first.

About the visa, I’ve given up the idea of working for a foreign company because of what I read. Any pointers on whether it’d be possible without highly skilled or spouse visa?

(Since I enjoy the startup and entrepreneurship world lately, my goal is to free up time and have fun in developing ideas, and perhaps some day make it my main business, but for now I need money and residence in Japan.)

Visa-wise, freelancing is challenging. There isn’t any way to self-sponsor a working visa in Japan. Rather, you need to have one of your clients sponsor you, which involves some paperwork on their part. Furthermore, you need to have an ongoing contract with them that pays you a living wage (this is up to immigration to determine, but typically at least ¥250,000 per month). Sponsoring your visa in this manner is only an option if you already have a working visa here, and are just looking to renew it.

Because of this, you’re right that an international company won’t be able to sponsor you. Theoretically though, if you were to set up your own company, you could have your company sponsor your visa, even if you only had one client. Of course, setting up a company is more involved, and its own challenges.

Thanks Paul, really nice of you. It confirms what I heard about it.

Sorry for coming back so late, in the end I’ve found a company that allows remote work in Japan, even all the time. I’m going to be a normal employee so for some things it’s going to be simpler, and once my visa is renewed (let’s hope for 3 or 5 years) I’ll be a little more free. It’s an “easy solution” and a compromise, as I wanted to work only 60% but it’s not possible at first, and hopefully by then I’ll have the courage to set up my own company and try to work for people abroad!

Now I am looking into ways to reduce the taxes, which seem a lot harder as an employee (each year the company does the tax for me and I’m taxed on 100% of my revenue), although I’ll have mostly the same charges as a freelancer :confused: