Always desiring to experience living in Japan, I moved in the country from Canada almost a year ago on a working holiday visa, which will expire next month. My life here is stable so far, including a job at a company willing to sponsor me for a work visa. I want to live in Japan for a longer period, but the problem is I don't seem to meet the requirements for a visa. I am aware that getting married is the easiest way, but unfortunately, I do not have that possibility.
Is there anything I can do to stay and work in Japan longer?
posted by remi to travel & transportation around Japan (18 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I posted a few times here before with questions about Japan. For those who don't recall (probably everyone), here is my story (or you can review my profile):
Many years ago, back home in Canada, I somehow drifted into the Japanese culture. It started by meeting random people from Japan online, then learning the language, getting to know the culture, and finally getting acquainted with Japanese people in person. Unbeknownst to me, Japan gradually became a part of my daily life, which I cherish today.
Before moving in Japan, I got involved in the Japanese-Canadian community, practiced the language daily, and met a Japanese girlfriend. She had a permanent resident visa and lived in Canada for a number of years studying. After graduating, she wanted to remain in Canada, but despite her efforts, she couldn't get a job and decided to move back in Japan.
Since I was hoping for a chance to live in Japan for so long, I thought that was my opportunity. Speaking Japanese and dealing with the culture within the small local Japanese-Canadian community became a routine, so moving in Japan seemed to be the next natural step. I was planning to go by myself someday on a working holiday visa anyway, so the timing was just right.
After the initial struggles, many months later, I'm now enjoying my life here. I lost my girlfriend (that seems to be the path of most foreigners here), but I am happy nevertheless. I even have a job in Web development and design at a great start-up company, with an atmosphere reminiscent to the mix of Canadian and Japanese I dealt with back home. The sad part is my new life here may be cut short because of one thing: a visa.
Frankly, I do not want to go back to Canada ― at least not now ― but I may have no choice. I spoke with two immigration lawyers from different firms my company hired. But with my lack of legal vocabulary in Japanese and their lack of English, I feel there still might be some stones unturned, which is why I'm asking for your advice today.
A one-year college certificate in a “Webmaster” programme ― a term used back then for a mix of Web development, Web design, and server administration ― and several years of experience are under my belt. The earliest project I worked on for a client was for a government programme back in 1998. But since this project predates my college time in 2000, the immigration office will most likely not consider it. They are not considering my experience during my working holiday, thus truncating my experience down to 8 or 9 years.
I've heard numerous times that the “easiest thing to do” is to get married, which is most likely not an option for me right now. If I marry someone I've just met a month ago, the immigration office will most likely reject my application for a spouse visa during their verification. Frankly, I'm not comfortable marrying someone just to get a visa.
The only alternative for me to stay and work here would be to get a work visa. There are two kinds of visas that were suggested by the lawyers I spoke with:
The first one is the engineer visa. In Japan, a Web developer is considered to be an engineer (even if I don't). For this, a 2-year degree or 10 years of experience are required.
The second one is the “Specialist in Humanities/International Services Visa”. It is used by teachers and designers. Only 3 years of experience are required (or a 2-year degree, I think). But the lawyer doesn't know if a Web ‘designer’ can get such a visa.
Finally, if I do have to leave Japan and return to Canada, would it be best to get an extra year of experience or bite the bullet and go get a 2-year degree?
I'm looking forward to read all your comments. Thanks in advance for your help and support!