Created for expats living in Japan

Hiring Foreign Workers in Japan and How to Apply for Visa

This article provides information on how to hire a foreigner in Japan from abroad. If you currently live outside Japan and would like to work in Japan, your first step is to find an employer (sponsor). Applicants who would like to work, study, or live in Japan should get a Certificate of Eligibility first. The Ministry of Justice in Japan issues the Certificate of Eligibility. To get a Certificate of Eligibility, the applicant must seek a Japanese sponsor (employer, spouse, school, etc.) to contact the local immigration office on their behalf and file an application. The sponsor in Japan must submit the application.

Alternatively, if you would like to start your own business in Japan, read "How to Start a Business in Japan".

>> Application for issuance of a Certificate of Eligibility

Hiring Foreign Workers in Japan

If you are planning to employ a foreigner who does not yet have a work visa in Japan, you need to obtain the certificate of Eligibility and necessary visa for them. The employer should check that the job description, educational background and work experience of the person you are about to hire match the visa category you are applying for.

Please note that even if the above conditions are met, the application may not be approved if the employer does not have the financial ability to hire the person, if the salary is not equal to or higher than that of a Japanese national doing the same work, or if the person does not meet the visa eligibility requirements, etc. Therefore, prior investigation should be carefully carried out.

Working Visa Categories

The working visa categories are divided into these types. For more information, see the website from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The required documents depend on the type of visa. Please check their website for details.

>> Work or Long Term Visa


  • Professor (Examples: university professor, assistant professor, assistant, etc.)
  • Artist (Examples: composers, songwriters, artists, sculptors, craftspeople, photographers, etc.)
  • Religious activities (Examples: religious people such as monks, bishops, missionaries, etc.)
  • Journalist (Examples: newspaper journalists, magazine journalists, editors, news cameramen, announcers, etc.)
  • Business manager (Examples: company presidents, directors, etc.)
  • Legal/Accounting services (Examples: attorneys, judicial scriveners, public accountants, tax accountants, etc. certified in Japan)
  • Medical services (Examples: physicians, dentists, pharmacists, nurses, etc. certified in Japan)
  • Researcher (Examples: researchers, investigators, etc. at research institutes, etc.)
  • Instructor (Examples: teachers, etc. at elementary schools, intermediate schools and high schools)
  • Engineer/Specialist in humanities/International services (Examples: scientific engineers, IT engineers, foreign language teachers, interpreters, copywriters, designers, etc.)
  • Intra-company transferee (Examples: people transferred to the Japanese branch (head office of the same company, etc.)
  • Nursing care (Example: certified care worker)
  • Entertainer (Examples: musicians, actors, singers, dancers, sportspeople, models, etc.)
  • Skilled labor (Examples: chefs specializing in the food of a foreign country, animal trainers, pilots, sports trainers, sommeliers, etc.)
  • Specified skilled worker (Work-ready foreign nationals who possess certain expertise and skills in certain industrial fields.)
  • Technical intern training (Examples: Technical intern)

Immigration / Working Visa Attorneys and Lawyers

Getting all the visa application documents in order can be a daunting task. In addition, if there are any deficiencies, you will have to go through the process all over again. We recommend to consult a specialist in order to facilitate the visa application process. Below is a list of law firms where you can consult in English.

BEYOND (Tokyo)

A: Korakuen Bld. 501, 1-33-15 Takadanobaba, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo
T: 03-6902-9334

Fukasawa Gyoseishoshi Lawyer Office (Tokyo)

A: Room No. 305, 3 floor, Higashigotanda 1-9-7, Sinagawa-ku, Tokyo
T: 050-5534-0807

Mori&Niitsu Legal Visa Office (Tokyo)

A: DOT4F 1-7-20 Hiroo, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo
T: 03-3443-5112

Minato Immigration Law office (Kanagawa)

A: #3F, 2-11 Higashidacho Kawasaki-ku, Kawasaki-shi, Kanagawa
T: 044-272-6080

Saito Immigration Lawyer Office (Kanagawa)

A: Skymanor Yokohama 523, Takashima 2-11-2, Nishi-ku, Yokohama-shi, Kanagawa
T: 045-453-0182

Administrative Lawyer YUGE Office (Osaka)

A: Sanwa bldg.3F, 1-2-3, Shima-machi Chuo-ku, Osaka-shi, Osaka
T: 06-6948-6969

Frontier Immigration Law Firm (Osaka)

A: 1-4-17,Shibata, Kita-ku, Osaka-shi, Osaka
T: 06-6375-2313

If you are looking for more law firms, please refer to these articles:

Free Legal Consultation in English for Foreign Residents in Japan

English-Speaking Lawyers in Tokyo