tokyodev forum

Options when moving to Japan on a dependent's visa

Hi all,

My wife and I, currently based in the UK, are planning to move to Japan in January. My wife will be undertaking a one year research fellowship so I’ll be travelling over with her on a spousal/dependent’s visa.

I’m wondering what my options are in this scenario work wise? I’m a backend/data engineer with about 10 years experience working with Java/Scala/Spark/Python.

I know I’ll be limited to 28 hours work on the dependents visa and, judging by the job listings, part time jobs as a dev don’t seem to be common. So I’m guessing I’d be limited to casual jobs if I were to look for part-time work.

Would I be able to apply for resident-only jobs once we’re over there and have my visa converted? Or would it be better for me to start appling for full-time jobs while we’re still in the UK? Or would I be better served looking for remote work for an overseas company? Or are there any other options that I should be considering?

Appreciate whatever advice is going, thanks!

If a company wanted to hire you, it sounds like you’d qualify for an engineering visa, and so there wouldn’t be any restrictions on the amount of time you could work.

If you’re only going to be here for one year, companies are less likely to be interested in you, as they typically want someone who will stay at least a couple of years (and hopefully more).

It’s possible to get a job from overseas, however, the bar tends to be lower once you’re already a resident of Japan.

The other concern is that COVID makes things quite uncertain. As far as I’m aware, Japanese immigration basically isn’t issuing new visas, and so it may not be possible for the two of you to get into the country.

If you were to work remotely for an international company, my understanding is that you could continue to do that work on a dependent visa provided you’ve applied for permission. However, that’s not something I personally have experience with, and so you might want to confirm somewhere more official that it is permitted.

Thanks for the reply Paul!

Yes, we’re aware that visas are not being issued at the moment. The uni hosting my wife seem to be operating under the impression that visa processing will resume in a limited capacity in November and that my wife will be eligible. I don’t know where that information comes from though, or whether it’s just wishful thinking on their part.

Given the uncertainty, is it worth my reaching out to local companies yet do you think or is it better to wait until we’ve a visa in hand? We are quite open to staying longer than the initial one year provided by the fellowship and a large part of that would depend on my own ability to find work and get settled.

There’s no point into applying to companies that aren’t hiring internationally right now, as they’re not going to bother considering someone they can’t hire. Some Japanese companies are hiring international developers on remote contracts with the intention to relocate people after the border opens. You could theoretically apply to those companies, but the bar is going to be a lot higher than if you’re in Japan, so it’s probably only worth your time if you find something where your skills are an exceptional match.

Thanks @pwim, our CoEs are currently being processed and with the relaxation of the travel restrictions announced yesterday it seems increasingly likely that we’ll be able to make the move in Jan as planned. So fingers crossed it wont be too long before I can give companies a firm date that I’ll be in the country :crossed_fingers: