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2019/08/02 Update

Is it legal to have a part-time job when holding a working visa?

Foreigners work in Japan

Recently, there’s an increase of international skilled workers working in Japan. The number of international workers in Japan was 1.27 million in 2017, which is the largest number ever.
Many of them work part time and it is said that 20% of part-time workers aren't Japanese.
Do you know that there are various conditions required when international workers start working in Japan?
A working visa is required in the first place. Many people may have seen the news about "Manager got arrested on suspicion of workers engaging in activities other than qualification activities/working illegally". In this case, the result is not only the deportation of foreign workers, but also the arrest of the manager who hired them.

Can a foreign worker have a part-time job when holding a working visa?

For foreigners who want to stay in Japan for more than 90 days, or to get paid in Japan, you need to obtain a visa. There are 17 types of visas and working visas are those which are prepared for the aim of working in Japan.

・What is a work visa?
A work visa is a generic term for proof that foreigners are staying in Japan for the purpose of working in Japan.
When Japanese people work in Japan, they can work in any occupation while foreigners can work only in types of work which are determined by Japanese government.
The types of employment visas are technology, humanistic knowledge / international work, company relocation, skills, investment / management, legal / accounting services, medical care, research, education, entertainment, teaching, arts, religion, and media coverage.
There are examples such as designers, transfers to overseas subsidiaries of companies, interpreters, and cooks etc.
In order to obtain a work visa, you need to go through immigration inspection at the time of application. The details of the inspection are whether the content of the job is suitable for the foreigner who works, the status of the foreigner who is applying, and the stability of the company where the foreigner is employed. If he/she can't pass all of them, a working visa can’t be acquired.
Even if the status of the foreigner who applies is no problem, there are cases where the employer cannot obtain it because there is no stability in the company. You can only get one type of work visa per person, so you need to change your visa if you want to work in another occupation.
Also, the validity period of a work visa varies from 3 months to 5 years. You have to renew it when the validity period is end. If you don't do it, you will be deported as overstaying.

・Part-time job is possible with work visa
Although you can only work under the one type of work visa you receive, it’s also possible to have a part-time job with visa. There are two ways to do a part-time job: a part-time job within the work visa's job range and a part-time job with permission for extra-qualification activities.

・Part-time job within the job visa category
For example, it is possible for a person who has acquired a work visa to work as a full-time employee as an SE and to work as a freelance SE on weekends.
In addition, if the company you work with allows secondary work, you can work part-time without the need for other applications.
However, for example, if you work as an accountant for full time and you want to work as an English teacher on weekends, you will need to apply for permission for extra-qualification activities as accountant belongs to humanistic knowledge and English teacher belongs to international work.

・Renewal of working visa is impossible if fraud is found
Many people think that even if they do part-time jobs without permission, they may not be found if they only earn a small amount of money but this is usually not true.
The reason is that it is necessary to submit a tax and taxation certificate at the time of working visa renewal, and it is possible to know from the investigation by the fact-finding department of the Immigration Bureau and they can investigate information through people such as your friends.
In particular, in the case of the Immigration Bureau's fact-finding department, they will hear from other people who you work with which will make the fraud be found immediately.

・Types of visas for which a part-time job is not permitted
Visas for which part-time workers are not permitted are "Cultural Activities", "Study Abroad", "Family Stay" and "Specific Activities". If you are staying in Japan with this visa, you can not work in Japan without obtaining permission for the "non-qualified activity".
Foreign students can work outside the qualifications only within 28 hours a week, and can work as part-time workers without interference with their studies.

Under permission for other activities, part-time job is possible?

You can get a part-time work even if your working visa is not of the same area, but you must obtain a permission for other activities.
Foreign employees who are often seen in convenience stores usually have visa of permanent residents, family residents, long-term residents, and foreign students with a permission for other activities.

・What is a permission for other activities?
A permission to engage in other activities means that foreign nationals residing in Japan can earn income while holding their current status of residence.
There’s one situation you don't need to obtain a permission for engaging in activities as a part-time job or volunteer work within the scope of the qualification as described above. It is when your income is generated temporarily for a lecture, etc.
Even if you get a permission for other activities, you cannot get all jobs. If you apply for a permission for other activities with a working visa, the part-time job can’t affect your main work as the job under working visa is considered to be your major work and the part-time job is considered to be sideline.
In addition, if you obtain a part-time job for working visa, there are situations that hard work and simple work such as covenience store staff and house transferring is limited.
There are 4 statuses of residence that allow you to do simple work with an application for other activities: "study abroad", "family stay", "cultural activity", and "specific activity". But be careful that it may not be allowed in some occasions as well.
Also, you can't work at any amusement business, game arcades, or pachinko parlors with a permission for other activities.

・Flow to acquire a permission for other activities
Applications for other activities can be made by an applicant who is employed by a Japanese company who is the applicant, or as a human resources manager or administrative clerk of the company handling the application.
International students, etc. should apply in advance while foreigners with other types of visas should apply when the employment is decided.

・Limitations to acquire a permission for other activities
Applications must be made before you start activities outside the qualification. It is usually about 2 weeks to 2 months from the application until the permission is obtained.
There is no cost for applying for non-qualified activities.

・Submission documents for permissions for other activities
➀ Application form for permissions for other activities
② Residence card or alien registration certificate
③ Copy of residence card or copy of alien registration certificate (not applicable if the applicant applies)
-Passport or Certificate of Eligibility (you need a reason if you don’t submit it)
④ Documents that identify your identity (if the person is not the applicant)
The application form can be obtained from the Ministry of Justice website.

・Validity period for applying for permission for other activities
The period of non-qualification activity permit is not unlimited and the expiration date is the same as the residence card.
If you wish to continue the non-qualification activity permit when you renew your residence card, you will need to renew both. As you can apply from three months before period expiration, it’s better to apply early.

・Type of permission for other activities
There are two types of permission: "Inclusive permission" and "Individual permission". We will introduce the features of each of the two types.
Inclusive permission
The Inclusive permission can be obtained mainly by those who have the status of residence of "Student" and "Family Stay".
The inclusive permission is simply a case where you can get permission even if the part-time job and work details are not decided in detail. Even if the part-time job changes, there is no need to reauthorize the permission.
You can apply for permission if you follow the 28-hour work activity restrictions and regulations.
Individual permission
Individuals with status of residence other than "Student" and "Family Stay" are individual permits.
You have to apply separately for each activity except for the activities which has been permitted, and you can not apply for activities when the content is not decided.
It is said that the application for non-qualification activities takes about one month, but in some cases it may be possible to apply early, so consult the Immigration Bureau if necessary.