A lot of people are hesitant to change jobs because they are not sure where to start and wonder if it is even doable. Foreign workers, especially, worry that they may lose their residence status or they could be subject to deportation if they quit their jobs at the company that originally sponsored their visas. The good news is that, unlike other countries, your Japanese work visa is not tied to your employer but solely to you and will remain valid until the date of expiration so long as you are continually living and working in Japan.

However, know that there is a limited time of 3 months that you are allowed to be unemployed or job hunt. If you go past this allotted time, immigration may revoke your visa and put you liable for deportation. If you are recently unemployed, check out this other article, inform immigration immediately, and go to your nearest Hello Work Center to get financial compensation via unemployment allowance while looking for jobs. If you are ready to do the big jump for whatever personal goals you may have such as career advancement, salary increase, or schedule flexibility, then go through this list to find out more.

Check your work visa for more details

There are different types of visas that foreign nationals are eligible for depending on their status in Japan. If you have a Permanent Residence Visa, Long Term Visa, Spousal Visa, Student Visa, or Dependent Visa, then you are allowed to work at pretty much any company, be it a corporate or labor-type job. There is, however, a limit of working hours per week for Student and Dependent visa holders which is approximately 28 hours per week.

If you are, however, on a Specialist in Humanities Visa or an Instructor Visa, there are certain limitations as to the type of job you are allowed to do. If the type of job you are planning to take on is not on the list provided by immigration, simply go to your nearest Immigration Center and apply for PERMISSION to ENGAGE in OTHER ACTIVITIES in advance of starting the other activity. For more information on Japanese visas, check this out.

Give your company a month’s notice

Let your current workplace know regarding your decision to leave the company at least a month before changing jobs. This will allow them to have sufficient time to find a replacement and train a new hire to fulfill your duties. For many companies, they stipulate the amount of time they require you to give notice on the work contract so make sure to refer to it as well. This is especially important if your company is providing for your accommodation at the moment. Make sure to return your health insurance card as well if you are under the Shakai Hoken Plan. Also, don’t forget to ask for the following documents if you are able to:
– Certificate of Employment
– Letter of Release
– Tax-related/pension documents

Review and Sign your new contract

Of course, this is a given and requires no further explanation. It is important to note though if the contract being offered to you is full-time, contractual, or freelance. Most companies that offer full-time positions and contract positions that are subject to yearly renewals provide complete benefits such as health insurance, tax, and pension deductions. If you are, however, a freelancer or a contractor then you need to get your National Health Insurance from the city hall and pay your pension, and NHI as well as file taxes by yourself.

Notify Immigration immediately

It is essential to let the Bureau of Immigration know of any changes in your employment status or if you have changed jobs. Immigration gives you 14 days to give them notice via website, mail, or in person. Simply download these forms from the website, fill them out, and attach the documents mentioned together with a copy of your new employment contract and your Letter of Release from your previous company. This is usually a smooth transaction as long as you have not committed any previous violation in the country.

Report the change to your Embassy (if necessary)

This is optional and may depend on your country of origin. Some embassies may require their citizens to report any changes to their status especially if they are on a work visa. Check out your embassy to get more information and what steps are necessary to take if your particular embassy follows these protocols.

Submit all necessary documents to your new company

If you haven’t yet submitted all the essential paperwork, then here is a list of basic things you should submit to your new company. To know more about the purposes of you’re My Number card, check this article out!

– Diploma/Award Certificate from the University
– Residence Card
– My Number Card
– Passport
– Extra copy of CV
– Health Insurance Registration
– Pension Book
– Bank book/cash card
– Monthly Commuter Pass Expense

*Depending on the type of job you have, they may require more than these such as your driver’s license, medical examination result, other specific licenses such as skill-based or language-based certificates, and more.

Okay, so now you are set! Changing jobs in Japan is not as daunting as it may seem but it does require a lot of red tape and bureaucracy. Of course, it is important to do your own research before jump shipping but I hope this guide gave you an idea of what you can expect when changing jobs here in Japan.