Changing jobs in Japan - a comprehensive guide
Thursday, August 23, 2018
Manage the transition like a pro
Life is in a constant development: you transit from a stage to another all the time. However, when you live in a foreign country, these changes can be even more challenging and stressful. Switching jobs ain’t no small feat - we are talking about serious stuff that affect straight to your resident status, so you have to be especially careful.
No matter if you decide to leave your workplace or if you have been dismissed - you have to do it in the smoother, most professional way possible. While jumping from a job to another pursuing better conditions is pretty much common in Western countries, Japanese people have a strong corporate, team commitment sense - it is expected for employees to stay in the same company during their entire life. We understand that the cultural differences can be a problem when switching jobs, so here you go our exhaustive guide on how to face this issue in the best possible way.
The notice period
This is one of the trickiest parts, so we recommend you to read carefully your contract. Whilst your contract may have a two, even three months notice period, it could be barely legal. According to the Japanese labor regulations, it is enough to give a two weeks notice when you are under a normal unlimited contract. However, it is always a sign of good will and courtesy to give as much notice as possible. If you have the chance, it would be nice to give your employer a written resignation in person and maybe have a small talk with your boss.
Last day at the office
The D-day finally came. You shared so many hours with your colleagues both in the office and outside of it, so it is fair enough to take some time during your last day to say goodbye and wish all of them the best. Be kind and nice with everybody and don’t forget to be grateful for the time you spent together. We know it can be such a difficult, emotional moment but who knows? Future is unpredictable, maybe you will work on the same team again!
Keep your visa safe
Although your (soon former) employer is the sponsor of your visa, the visa itself belongs to you even if you switch jobs. In case you leave your workplace but you didn’t find a new one yet, you have to land in a new job within 3 months or Immigration could take away your resident status. You also have to notify the authorities that you quit your job within 14 days.
Change of the visa status
If your new job falls into the same category than the previous one, you just have to tell the Immigration officers that you switched into a new workplace. In case you want to drift into a new category (for example, from an Instructor visa to a Specialist in Humanities visa), you have to apply for a change of visa status. Check in advance with the Immigration Bureau the documents needed for completing this step.
Insurance, pension and taxes in order
Visit your city ward to ensure everything is correct with your pension and health insurances, as well as with the taxes. Japanese Government is getting extremely serious with offenders and if you mess up with your obligations, it could affect to your next visa renewal.
If you are leaving Japan
We already gave you a to-do list for newcomers in Japan, but what happens in the reverse case? If you are quitting your job to come back home or going anywhere else, be sure you settle your affairs here first:
- Pay your taxes - we can’t highlight this enough!
- Return your health insurance card.
- Tell the city ward that you are leaving.
- Get your pension refund.
- Close your bank account.
- Forward your mail to a friend - you can’t forward it overseas.
- Cancel your lease and receive the deposit back.
- Pack and ship your belongings.
And remember - life changes for the better! We are sure you have a brilliant future ahead and greater things are coming this way. Register on IZANAU and find the job you’ve always wanted!
About the Author
Half writer, half reader. Tokyo based and deeply in love with - you can easily find me meandering around Shibuya or Shin-Okubo. Communication and marketing assistant by day, video game localizer by night.