I want to change jobs in Japan. Can I work with my present visa?
Update: Dec. 12, 2020
If you work as an interpreter in a company with a status of residence of “Engineer/Specialist in Humanities/International Services” and decide to work for another company, can you change jobs without changing your status of residence?
Case 1：The activity at the new job corresponds to the same status of residence as the one you have now
If you work as an interpreter or translator at your new job, or if your activities fall under the same status of residence as you do now, your current status of residence is basically still valid after you change jobs.
However, before changing jobs we advise you to apply for a “Certificate of Qualification for Employment” at the Immigration Office to make sure that your new work falls within the activities permitted by your current visa. It will reduce the risk of denial in getting permission of extending your visa next time.
What is a “Certificate of Qualification for Employment”?
A Certificate of Qualification for Employment is a document issued by the Minister of Justice that certifies a foreign national residing in Japan is qualified to engage in the paid work activities based on an application from that foreign national. (From the website of the Immigration Bureau)
In other words, by applying for and obtaining a Certificate of Qualification for Employment, you will be able to confirm that you can work at your new job with your current status of residence.
The advantage of this is that companies can confirm in advance what kind of work activities the foreign national will be able to do. In addition, by obtaining Certificate of Qualification for Employment, as I explained earlier, you can reduce the risk of denial of renew your status of residence. If you are not allowed to renew your status of residence, not only will you be unable to work, but it also means you have been engaging in activities other than those permitted under the status of residence illegally since you changed jobs, and you may be subject to criminal penalties and deportation proceedings.
If the expiration date of your period of stay is close to the time you changed jobs, it is not very meaningful to get a Certificate of Authorized Employment. In that case, you will have to prove the eligibility of the work you are doing at your new job when you apply for a renewal of your status.
In other words, even if you do not have a certificate of eligibility, it does not mean that you cannot work or change jobs.
Necessary documents to apply for a Certificate of Qualification for Employment
- an application for a certificate of eligibility to work
- a passport or certificate of eligibility
- a residence card
- a Gensen Choshuhyo (a certificate of withholding tax issued by the company you worked for before changing jobs)
- a certificate of resignation (issued by the company you worked for)
- documents that provide an overview of the new company such as a copy of the corporate registration, a copy of the most recent financial statements (in the case of a newly established company, a copy of the business plan for the next year), and a company brochure.
- any of the following documents describing the activities, period of employment, position and payment after the change of employment – such as a copy of the employment contract, a copy of the resignation letter, a copy of the notice of employment, or a document similar to the above
- a statement of reasons for employment
Case 2: The activity at the new job corresponds to a different status of residence
If you have been working as an interpreter on an “Engineer/Specialist in Humanities/International Services” visa and you will start working as a teacher (Instructor visa), the category of your visa will no longer be appropriate. You must apply for a change of status of residence. It is necessary to confirm which status of residence is applicable to the activities at your new job. You need to make an application before you change jobs.
The procedures you need to follow depend on whether the activities at your new job will be the same as before or will be different.
Even if you have applied for a Certificate of Qualification for Employment, you are also required to notify the change of employers within 14 days by submitting the notification to the Immigration office.
Meanwhile, the Immigration office has the authority to revoke your visa if you don’t find a new job within 3 months after you leave your previous job.
Amie Immigration Law Office provides support for applications for a certificate of eligibility to work and for changes in status of residence. Consultations in English are also available. Please contact us for more information.
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