tokyodev forum

Relocation questions

Hi all. I’ve recently decided that I would like to try living and working in Japan in the near future. While I am applying for jobs, I was hoping to learn a bit more about the whole process.

Do any employers do in-person interviews? Or is it primarily a combination of coding assignments and video/phone calls?
How long does it usually take for the employer to get a working visa processed?
Does the employer generally help out with relocation, other than handling the visa? Are flights covered?
Is it possible to change jobs once already there? Or would I be tied to the sponsoring employer?
What’s a relatively safe amount of money to have for the initial period? For instance, generally in Toronto, I’d be expected to provide first and last month’s rent before moving in.

Would be really grateful for information help :slight_smile:
Thanks!

It really depends on the company.

Typically, the screening process will be done only online, often with some coding assignment plus video chat interviews. I’ve heard of companies flying out people for interviews though.

Working visa processing time is basically impossible to predict, as once it is submitted to immigration, you just need to wait. Typically it is two to three months, but I’ve heard it taking as much as six months.

Relocation packages depends on the employer. If it is a big established company, their probably going to be paying for everything related to your move. For smaller startups, typically they’ll just pay for your flight. Some won’t even do that though. No matter what, someone from the company should help you get established in Japan with stuff like renting an apartment, contracting a mobile phone, etc.

With working visas, there’s two main ones.

The Engineering visa, which companies normally use, and just requires a relevant university degree or ten years working experience. This visa isn’t tied to your employer, so you can change without issue.

The newer option is the Highly Skilled Professional visa, which is on a points system, and basically requires a relatively high salary plus university degree plus points for some other things. The visa offers a bunch of “perks”, including a faster track to permanent residency. This visa is tied to your employer. However, if you meet the requirements for this visa, you’re almost guaranteed to be able to get an Engineering visa as well, and so changing jobs shouldn’t be an issue.

Your main initial expense is probably going to be rent. Move in cost can range from one month’s rent to six month’s rent upfront. There’s other articles explaining more about this if you search around. If you’re single, the easiest option to get started is shared accomidation, as it typically has no or minimal upfront fees, and is usually furnished, so you can get settled in before figuring out where you want to live longer term. This costs probably ¥100,000 per month if you’re living someone central. If you go with something like that, ¥500,000 to ¥1,000,000 is probably a safe reserve of cash to have.

Paul, thanks so much for all this detailed information.

Just a follow up on the visa. I don’t actually have a university degree. I do have just about 10 years of experience in the field. Maybe just slightly under. Any idea how they check the relevant experience?

I don’t have experience with the ten years work experience myself, but as I understand it, you’ll need to have some sort of documentation from your employers. Your local embassy or consulate may be able to provide more information.

OK, thanks! I’ll have to find out :slight_smile: