【Case Study】A designated activities visa for job hunting
Mr. A, a Korean student studying at a Japanese university, wanted to work in Japan after graduating from university and so he started to look for a job while he was still in school. While the people around him were receiving job offers, Mr. A did not receive any job offers from the companies where he was hoping to work. He finally graduated in March without any job offer. The expiration date of Mr. A’s student visa is July 31. If he does not receive any job offer by then, does he have to return to Korea?
Mr. A, wishing to continue staying in Japan, visited Daiichi-Sogo Group for free consultation.
There, he learned that there was a designated activities visa for job hunting.
In this article, we will explain the designated activities visas for job hunting with some examples.
1. “Can I stay in Japan after graduation?”
We often receive inquiries from international students as to whether they can continue to stay in Japan with a student visa after graduating from school.
It is a little difficult story, but once an administrative disposition is made, its effect will not be denied unless it is canceled by an administrative agency (it is called “official power of administrative disposition”). Each status of residence has a fixed period of stay, and when you are permitted to land or to extend the period of stay, you receive disposition by which you are allowed to stay until the expiration date of the period of stay. In this case, the official power of administrative disposition means that it is not illegal to stay in Japan until the expiration date of the period of stay, unless your status of residence is revoked.
Then under what circumstances statuses of residence are revoked?
The Immigration Act stipulates several reasons for revokes. Among them, we will introduce the following article.
Where any of the following facts are found with respect to a Foreign National residing in Japan under a status of residence listed in the left-hand column of Appended Table I or Appended Table II […], the Minister of Justice may revoke the Foreign National’s status of residence in accordance with the procedures provided for by Ministry of Justice Order:
(vi) any person residing with a status of residence in the left-hand column of Appended Table I who has been residing for three months […] or more without continuously engaging in the activities (except where there is a justifiable reason for residing without engaging in the activities) listed in the right-hand column of the same Table corresponding to the status of residence.
A student visa is one of the statuses of residence in Appended Table I of the Immigration Act. The Immigration Act stipulates that the student visa can be revoked if a student visa holder does not study in Japan for continuous 3 months or more. In other words, after graduation, if a student continues to stay in Japan for more than 3 months with a student visa for no proper reason, the visa may be revoked.
To summarize above, even in case that you continue to stay with a student visa after graduation until the expiration date of the period of stay, it will not be illegal due to the official power of administrative disposition, but your visa can be canceled if you continue to stay for more than 3 months after graduation.
In Mr. A’s case, it is not illegal to stay on a student visa until July 31, which is the date of expiration of the period of stay, but the status of residence can be canceled any time after the end of June, which is 3 months after graduation, during which activities as a student is not conducted.
Therefore, if you would like to continue job hunting after graduation, you need to change your status of residence to the designated activities visa for job hunting as explained below.
2. “How can I continue job hunting after graduation?”
As seen in 1 above, if you are still in Japan 3 months after the graduation, your student visa may be revoked. Therefore, it is necessary to change the status of residence according to the content of your activity after you graduate.
If you plan to continue job hunting after graduation, which you have been doing since before graduation, a designated activities visa is available. Nevertheless, not every international student can change to a designated activities visa for job hunting.
Thus, you need to acknowledge the requirements for a designated activities visa for job hunting.
In this regard, the website of the Ministry of Justice states as follows:
In case international students, etc. who have graduated from universities or obtained the title of diploma in a special course of special training colleges and graduated from the same colleges wish to stay in Japan after the expiration of the period of stay for the status of residence of “Student” in order to continue job search, if there is no issue with their status of residence and if there is a recommendation concerning their continuing job search, etc. from the educational institutions which they graduated from, they will be permitted to change their status of residence to the status of residence for job search (designated Activities with the period of stay for 6 month), and to extend the period of stay once; therefore, even after graduating from universities, etc., they can stay in Japan for one year for job search. (Excerpt from the website of the Ministry of Justice)
This can be summarized into 6 requirements as follows:
(1) The foreigner is in Japan with the status of residence of “Student”;
(2) The foreigner has graduated from a university or obtained the title of diploma in a special course of a special training college and graduated from the same college;
(3) It’s been less than 1 year after graduation;
(4) The foreigner wishes to continue job search that he/she has been doing since before graduation;
(5) The foreigner has the ability to pay all expenses during his/her stay; and
(6) The foreigner is recommended by the school he/she graduated from.
Here, please pay attention to the requirement (2).
While (2) includes those who have obtained the title of diploma in a special course of special training colleges and graduated from the same colleges, Japanese language school graduates, special course students at universities, auditors, credited auditors, and research students are not included. Please note that not all students with a student visa are qualified.
Having said that, research students at universities or graduate schools are subject to this visa on a certain condition, which is that if they are enrolled as a research student for the purpose of entering a graduate school after graduating from Japanese university. In this case, fulfillment of the requirement (3) (less than 1 year after graduation) is important. (“1 year after graduation” here means 1 year after graduating from university).
In addition, (4) (continuing job search that has been carried out since before the graduation) is a requirement, so if you start job hunting after graduation, you cannot change to a designated activities visa for job hunting.
In addition, in order to apply for a change of status of residence to a designated activities visa for job hunting, it is necessary to receive a recommendation from the school you graduated from (as states in (6) above). If your grades or attendance rate is low, or you work part time for more than permitted hours, you may not be able to get a recommendation from the school, so naturally, you should not neglect your studies at school.
If you are allowed to change your status of residence to a designated activities visa for job hunting, you will be granted a designated activities visa with a period of stay for 6 months, in principle. If you receive a job offer during this period, you need to apply for the change of your visa to a work visa corresponding to your job description. If you don’t find a job within 6 months, you will be allowed to extend your visa only once, but the period of stay will be decided considering how much time is left until 1 year since graduation.
3. “Can I work part-time with a designated activities visa for job hunting?”
In principle, you are not allowed to have a part-time job while staying in Japan on a designated activities visa for job hunting.
However, if the letter of recommendation from your school states that there will be no problem about you receiving permission to engage in activity other than that permitted under the status of residence previously granted, it is possible to obtain such permission to work for 28 hours or less per week, which is the same limitation as for students. Please note that if you plan to continue your part-time job after graduation, you will need to obtain permission to engage in activity other than that permitted under the status of residence previously granted, in advance.
In addition, some schools allow their graduates to change their status of residence to a designated activities visa for job hunting, but do not allow them to have any part-time job during job hunting, so they can focus on job hunting. So, please check with your school in advance whether you will be allowed to work part-time after changing your status of residence to a designated activities visa.
4. The journey to solution
Let’s see the journey to the solution for the case.
In the case of Mr. A, a Korean student who wants to get a job in Japan, he consulted with us immediately after graduation, so we could apply for the change to a designated activities visa for job hunting during the 3-month grace period, after which the visa might be canceled.
Mr. A had no history of working part-time more than legally permitted hours during school years, and his behaviors were good, so he was able to obtain a designated activities visa for job hunting as he wished.
In addition, we confirmed that his university did not prohibit working part-time during job hunting. After confirming Mr. A’s intention, we obtained permission to engage in activity other than that permitted under the status of residence previously granted at the same time as application for the change to a designated activities visa for job hunting,
After that, while doing job hunting, Mr. A was able to make a living from a part-time job and eventually got a job at a trading company where he wanted to work.
We hear that some part of job hunting in Japan is difficult for international students to understand. Also, not a few students hoping to get a job in Japan decide to work at a company or in an industry which is not their first choice, because there is a time limit on a student visa.
Such situations become reason for early resignation and lack of ambition for skill improvement.
The designated activities visa for job hunting, which we explained in this article, is something that international students who seriously consider finding a job in Japan should know.
If you know any international student who has trouble finding a job, we would appreciate if you introduce this article to the student.