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How to Become an Expat in Japan?



A lot of people from all over the world dream about moving to the Land of the Rising Sun. Unfortunately, such a project is not accessible to everyone and requires very serious preparation. But, if this is your dream, you shouldn’t get discouraged easily.

Keep reading and discover a step-by-step guide that explains to you how to become an expat in Japan.

Administrative Steps for Living as an Expat in Japan

A visa is essential for living as an expat in Japan.

For those under 30 years old, the easiest solution is to apply for the WHP (Working Holiday Permit). Valid for one year, it allows you to live and work in Japan.

However, the WHP does not allow you to work in all types of activities. You should get updated information.

In most cases, you will have to obtain a work visa. There are many types of work visas, including the following:

  • Engineer: to work in engineering and new technologies
  • Investor: for managers of international companies, and to create a company, provided that you have start-up capital and a business address in the country
  • Mutation: for employees expatriated to Japan by their company
  • Specified Skills 1 and 2: for low-skilled, high-volume occupations
  • Humanities Expert: for people working in the field of translation, teaching, international relations, etc.
  • Permanent Resident: for people who have already resided in Japan for several years.

Obtaining a visa is a procedure that can take time. It requires a CoE (Certificate of Eligibility) issued by an employer. It is an essential intermediary in the procedure.

Other documents may be required depending on the type of visa. For example a work contract or a certificate from the JLPT test, which attests to an excellent command of Japanese.

Once the visa is obtained, you must apply for a residence permit, issued for a specific period. This stipulates the jobs that the expatriate can do in Japan.

How to Become an Expat in Japan: Special Programs

There are several programs that allow you to expatriate to Japan:

The ETP program:

  • Funded by the European Commission
  • Japanese language courses are given in Europe
  • Management courses are also given
  • An internship period in Japan is planned.

The JET program:

  • For bachelor’s degree holders under 35 years old
  • Graduates that already have a good command of Japanese.

Tips for Integrating and Finding Expat Jobs in Japan

As you can see, knowledge of the local language is a prerequisite for expatriation to Japan, to which must be added mastery of English and real professional skills.

It is, therefore, necessary to consider taking courses before moving.

It is important to know that integration in Japan can be quite difficult, especially during the first months.

Therefore, once you are in Japan, do not hesitate to contact the expatriate communities for advice and support: there are nearly 2,8 million foreigners living in the country.

It is also essential to be well informed about the job market before thinking about moving because it is not easy to get expat jobs in Japan. Although the unemployment rate is very low in the country, most jobs are still closed to foreigners.

The best solution to work as a foreigner is to find a job in a company from your country that has an office in Japan. Good news: there are many.

In most cases, a foreigner will occupy a qualified position in the service industry:

  • Customer or marketing manager
  • Sales engineer
  • Management positions
  • Internal auditors
  • Management controllers
  • etc.

Teaching and translation are also interesting fields for expats in Japan.

What Is the Best Expat Health Insurance for Japan?

The quality of health care facilities in Japan is optimal throughout the country. And any expat can benefit from the local Social Security system. It covers:

  • Illness
  • Retirement
  • Unemployment.

You just have to go to the town hall and prove that you have been in the country for more than 1 year.

However, it is highly recommended to subscribe to private expat health insurance for Japan before moving. It will provide satisfactory reimbursements and guarantees.

Indeed, the local insurance does not cover all the health expenses. The coverage can go up to 80% for employees and 70% for other residents, which leaves a significant amount to be paid by the patient.

Japanese health insurance does not cover treatment received abroad, nor repatriation, a risk that must be taken into account when you are a foreigner.

Taking out international health insurance allows you to benefit from coverage all over the world. And offers essential guarantees to any expatriate in Japan. It is also possible to customize it according to your needs.

The contract and the procedures will be carried out entirely in your language. Which is extremely comfortable and simple. Advisors are also easily reachable to help you in any procedure.

You will then have to choose between a Social Security supplementary package or insurance at the 1st euro. Online comparators make it easy to find the offer that best suits your individual needs and budget.

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This is also interesting:

What countries should I move to? The best countries to move to are not the same for everyone! Finding the ideal destination depends first of all on what is expected on a personal level.

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