Looking for a job in Japan? Guide to job hunting for foreign residents


photo by Aidan Jones

Once you decided to settle in Japan, the next thing you need to sort out is a job. Of course it will be a great advantage if you know someone who can give you a reference. But if not, the government’s employment service center, aka Hello Work, is the most reliable job search tool for you. This column will introduce some tips to job hunting for foreign residents by using Hello Work and some more useful information.


Shinjuku Foreigners’ Employment Assistance and Guidance Center (Tokyo)

This center in Kabukicho is open to all job seekers who fall into the following categories.

  1. Non-Japanese nationals whose visa status has no restrictions on occupation: e.g. spouses of Japanese nations, long term residents.
  2. Students from overseas who seek a part time job.
  3. Non-Japanese nationals who has designated activities visa: e.g. working holiday

The center provides job counseling and placement services. The staff in the center will contact the business that matches your interests to arrange an appointment for you. Interpreters are available in English and Chinese by appointment. The interpreter service must be booked up to one day prior to the day you wish to book in. Also, make sure to bring your resident card (or your alien registration certificate) and passport.

Shinjuku Foreigners’ Employment Assistance and Guidance Center

Address: 1st Floor Hello Work Shinjuku Bldg. (Kabukicho office)
2-42-10 Kabukicho, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo
TEL: 03-3204-8609
English brochure (pdf): Shinjuku Foreigners’ Employment Assistance and Guidance Center


Tokyo Employment Service Center for Foreigners (Tokyo)

This Center is open to all job seekers who fall into the following categories.

  1. Engineer, Specialist in humanities and International services visa holders
  2. Skilled labor and instructor visa holders
  3. Student visa holders who desire to work in Japan after graduation

The center is specialized in job counseling and placement services. Employment information for specific work visa holders which was gathered from the Hello Work database in all cities is available to view at this center. Also, events such as interview sessions, company information sessions or seminars for foreigners are held reguarly. Interpreters are available in English and Chinese by appointment.

Tokyo Employment Service Center for Foreigners

Address: 21st Fl Odakyu Daiichi Seimei Bldg, 2-7-1 Nishi Shinjuku, Shinjuku-ku
TEL: 03-5339-8625
Website (English): Tokyo Employment Service Center for Foreigners


Stable employment training courses for foreign residents (Country-wide)

Free seminars are open to spouses or children of Japanese nationals, permanent residents, spouses of permanent residents, and Long-term resident visa holders as part of a project by Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare. These seminars provide Japanese language classes starting from a beginner’s level to people who are enthusiastic to work but experiencing difficulties to do so due to an inadequate communication skill in Japanese. In addition to language lessons, classes give a focus on reading a job posting, creating CV, a job interview and manners in working places. In 2015, the seminars were held in 15 prefectures (Ibaraki, Tochigi, Gunma, Saitama, Chiba, Tokyo, Kanagawa, Ishikawa, Nagano, Gifu, Shizuoka, Aichi, Mie, Shiga and Osaka) and more than 4000 people participated. Booking can be made at a Hello Work branch office. This will be a great help for foreign residents to find a decent job.

Website: Japan International Cooperation Center


Employment Service Center for Foreigners and Employment Service Section for Foreigners (Country-wide)

These two names sound very similar, but “Employment Service Centers for Foreigners” are located in Nagoya and Osaka other than the Tokyo centers previously mentioned. “Employment service sections for foreigners” are located inside of Hello Work branch offices in major cities of Japan. Interpreters are available in different languages at most of the branches. Check availability of your language beforehand as available languages differ from day to day. For example, interpreters in the following languages help you with job consulting at Hello Work in Yokohama city:
Monday: English, Tuesday: Chinese, Wednesday: Spanish and Chinese

Nagoya Employment Service Center for Foreigners

Address: 12F Chunichi Bldg. 4-1-1 Sakae, Naka-ku, Nagoya-shi
TEL: 052-264-1901
Website (English): Nagoya Employment Service Center for Foreigners

Osaka Employment Service Center for Foreigners

Address: 16F Hankyu Grand Bldg. 8-47 Kakuda-cho, Kita-ku, Osaka
TEL: 06-7709-9465
Website (English): Osaka Employment Service Center for Foreigners

List of Hello Work with Interpreters

List of Hello Work with Interpreters


Register with employment agency

As previously introduced, Hello Work is the most reliable approach to find a job in Japan. If you are still unsuccessful, you can try employment agencies who match foreign residents seeking a job and employers seeking a candidate. This option is for foreign residents with an adequate Japanese communication skill as registration procedures are done in Japanese and employers require a basic Japanese lanugage ability most of the time. The followings are some examples of employment agencies who has large number of employment offers for foreign residents. Have a look at their website and see if you wish to register with them.



Seek teaching career

A few decades ago, a language school teacher was the most common job for foreign residents. In recent years, the sluggish economy eliminated a number of schools and the demand for language teachers diminished accordingly. In addition, big language schools organize the entire employment process from job interview, exams, to trainings then transfer the teachers to Japan, therefore don’t employ teachers within Japan. However, there still are a certain number of demands in the industry. If you have a university degree and an ability to teach your language in a systematic manner, it is worth looking for a teaching job. This section introduce some information for foreign residents who seek a teaching job.

JET Program

If you are interested in teaching English at schools in Japan, the JET program by the government may be a great chance for you. A candidate who meet conditions such as “residing in Japan less than 6 years”, and become successful in the applicant screening and interview can work as assistant language teachers. This position offers a coverage of housing expense and insurance. Also, there are few position of international exchange personnel or international sports exchange personnel. Generally speaking, you need to apply before you leave your country and come to Japan after the position is confirmed, but you also allowed to apply from Japan. There are some inconvenience that your application and job interview have to be done at an overseas Japanese diplomatic office. However, the stable employment and good employees benefits are worth going through all the procedures. A contract is revised every year and can be renewed up to 5 years.

Website: The Japan Exchange and Teaching Program

Job search site for English teachers

Small language schools still employ teachers within Japan. Also, casual one to one lessons held at café are becoming popular lately. Check job list for the position online.

Japan English Teacher
ELT news.com



No matter type of jobs, the most important skill in job searching in Japan seems to be a communication skill in Japanese. If you are not confident with your Japanese, keep brushing up your Japanese language skill first. Also keep your eyes open for a future job using Japan Times Jobs, Daijob.com and others. Good luck with your job search.


Related Article:
Potential jobs for people on Working Holiday Scheme
What an interviewer looks for during a job interview: tips for overseas candidates
Looking for a job? Check positions in dispatched work agencies





磯山ゆきえ Yukie Isoyama

I love traveling abroad by myself. By keeping a subjective point of view towards Japan, I hope to find many fun stories about this country.

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