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Working at a university in Japan

 
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ezuarino



Joined: 02 Oct 2006
Posts: 1
Location: New Jersey, USA

PostPosted: Thu Aug 16, 2012 3:34 pm    Post subject: Working at a university in Japan Reply with quote

I have a Specialist in Humanities/International Services visa and am working at an eikaiwa at the moment. However, I also have an MA TESOL and university ESL teaching experience from the US. I have an interview scheduled for a Japanese university to teach ESL part-time... Would my visa status be a problem for the university? My goal is to teach in a university, but I'm a bit scared of not being able to in the end since I have the specialist visa and not a professor visa. Can anyone shed some light onto my situation?
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Glenski



Joined: 15 Jan 2003
Posts: 12844
Location: Hokkaido, JAPAN

PostPosted: Thu Aug 16, 2012 11:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you get part-time work at a uni, any valid visa status is good enough. With the humanities visa, for example, you would simply have to get special permission:
http://www.immi-moj.go.jp/english/tetuduki/zairyuu/shikakugai.html
(Immigration decides whether you get this. Should be a shoe-in for additional teaching at a uni.)

Otherwise, if you shoot for a full-time job at a uni, you'll have to change to the professor visa. Straightforward enough, but the uni would have to sponsor you.
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simonenglish



Joined: 09 Aug 2011
Posts: 38

PostPosted: Fri Aug 17, 2012 12:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Japanese visa situation is pretty good compared to other countries. As a part-time teacher you can sponsor yourself. You just get all your tax slips for the year from every employer and they will sort it out at the immigration office.

The bigger problem is finding the work to fill out your week.
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Glenski



Joined: 15 Jan 2003
Posts: 12844
Location: Hokkaido, JAPAN

PostPosted: Fri Aug 17, 2012 7:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

simonenglish wrote:
The Japanese visa situation is pretty good compared to other countries. As a part-time teacher you can sponsor yourself. You just get all your tax slips for the year from every employer and they will sort it out at the immigration office.
Be careful how you describe self-sponsorship.

Yes, after a year of working in Japan, a person can stop using just one employer as a full-time sponsor for his visa. Instead, yes, he can gather the information from more than one PT employer and continue on the same visa with the casual and unofficial status of "self-sponsoring". It's a misnomer because one of those PT employers (the one with the largest income) still has to sign your immigration papers.

However, if you take on university work PT and retain the humanities work visa for FT work, you don't need to do that. Just keep on working at eikaiwa and get the special permission as I described. If the uni is the largest income source, you may have to switch visa types, and I don't know if anyone can guarantee that immigration will let you do that. Case by case, I presume.

If you want to work FT at a uni, you will have to switch visa types.
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simonenglish



Joined: 09 Aug 2011
Posts: 38

PostPosted: Fri Aug 17, 2012 12:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I never had any problems with self sponsoring, and neither did all my friends who were all part-time university teachers..

Everything is done by the immigration office anyway, so you can't pick and choose what visa you are going to have once they look at your documents/tax slips.
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Glenski



Joined: 15 Jan 2003
Posts: 12844
Location: Hokkaido, JAPAN

PostPosted: Fri Aug 17, 2012 11:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

simonenglish,
Just to be 100% sure about the self-sponsoring thing, what visas were you and all your friends on before you self-sponsored?
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simonenglish



Joined: 09 Aug 2011
Posts: 38

PostPosted: Sat Aug 18, 2012 1:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, I was on a normal humanities visa at the beginning. I got one day of work at a university, and then the next year I got more and switched over to the self sponsored visa. It wasn't a big deal.

You just have to keep all the bits of paper with your earnings and tax deductions that each institute prints out each year. One of my friends was working at about seven places, and he had to gather them all in.

I think there may be a minimum to earn each year, but it is reasonably low - like 2.5/3 million yen or something.
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Glenski



Joined: 15 Jan 2003
Posts: 12844
Location: Hokkaido, JAPAN

PostPosted: Sat Aug 18, 2012 8:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for those details. Frankly, I am a little surprised at being able to do it with a humanities visa, but you did. And yes, the most important 2 things are the receipts/contracts to prove the work, and making the minimum salary, which is nebulous and probably varies from region to region for the sake of cost of living.
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think_balance



Joined: 02 Jul 2008
Posts: 65

PostPosted: Thu Aug 23, 2012 11:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Glenski wrote:
If you get part-time work at a uni...


Glenski,

IIRC, you're a champion of full time, tenured track professorship in Japan, which I greatly appreciate.

However, if someone only wants to stay in Japan in for two or three years, would you say a part-time Uni position is better?

If one has an MA TESOL, does that person also need publications in order to land a part time position? Or are the requirements relaxed.

Do you have any other suggestions for people looking for part time uni work?
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Glenski



Joined: 15 Jan 2003
Posts: 12844
Location: Hokkaido, JAPAN

PostPosted: Fri Aug 24, 2012 3:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

A champion of FT tenured jobs? I'm not clear what you mean. Obviously, the best one could do in university work is get that (IMO), but otherwise what did you mean? I'm quite aware that it seems to be the norm to NOT have tenure and NOT to have even a FT uni job.

Quote:
However, if someone only wants to stay in Japan in for two or three years, would you say a part-time Uni position is better?
FT jobs come with research funds, private offices/phones, and access to ILLs. The down sides are the meetings, committees, proofreading (for free), and need to publish, plus the short-term contracts.

PT jobs let you take on whatever you can fit into your schedule. Some people say it's really hard because so many classes are set for the same time of day, too. Then there is the traveling to different sites, lack of getting to know the other teachers/staff, and hassles getting in grades and making copies. The biggest plus is probably the lack of meetings and committee work.

For someone just starting out, you can't get a work visa on PT work. You need a FT job sponsor for that visa (unless you have special circumstances like a Japanese spouse). After a year, if you can muster enough PT contracts, you can keep the visa but go "self-sponsor". With the number of places that choose not to sponsor visas, this is a plus. Also, depending on the school, you might even be able to stay longer as a PTer than a FTer if you have this arrangement. I am not sure about that last point, and I welcome experienced PTers to add to it.

Quote:
If one has an MA TESOL, does that person also need publications in order to land a part time position? Or are the requirements relaxed.
From what I hear, the trend is growing to require the publications even for PT work. What percentage require it now, I don't know.

Quote:
Do you have any other suggestions for people looking for part time uni work?
Nothing extraordinary.

1. Make contacts everywhere (but don't go begging). Take that extra 10 minutes at your PT job to meet & greet people and establish a presence in their faces.

2. Publish.

3. Present.

4. Join JALT or JACET or other organizations in order to do #1, #2, and #3.

5. Have business cards on you at all times. You may not be able to list one particular school, but having "English teacher" or some such thing on it is good enough.
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think_balance



Joined: 02 Jul 2008
Posts: 65

PostPosted: Fri Aug 24, 2012 6:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Glenski wrote:
A champion of FT tenured jobs? I'm not clear what you mean.


My impression has been that you really feel foreign professors should be treated like Japanese profs, that they should be tenured track, etc.

Not sure if you go so far as to feel 'threatened' by PT Profs as some people do.

Hopefully that made sense.

And, my meaning of PT Profs was more along the lines of three years and then the contract is up. Not literally part time (like only two classes at one Uni, three at another.
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Glenski



Joined: 15 Jan 2003
Posts: 12844
Location: Hokkaido, JAPAN

PostPosted: Fri Aug 24, 2012 8:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

think_balance wrote:
Glenski wrote:
A champion of FT tenured jobs? I'm not clear what you mean.


My impression has been that you really feel foreign professors should be treated like Japanese profs, that they should be tenured track, etc.
Again, I'm not sure what your "etc." means, but why shouldn't foreigners with equivalent qualifications be treated fairly according to the law as far as tenure is concerned? Help me out here to know where you are coming from on that issue. As far as being treated like Japanese profs, aside from tenure, did you have something else in mind?

Quote:
Not sure if you go so far as to feel 'threatened' by PT Profs as some people do.
Not as far as I know. Certainly not at my work place. Living in a small community has its advantages that way.

Quote:
And, my meaning of PT Profs was more along the lines of three years and then the contract is up. Not literally part time (like only two classes at one Uni, three at another.
Contract teachers are not PT workers, so I'm glad you explained that much. Can we agree to use PT for what it really means, and contract for FTers who are in for a limited period of years?

My earlier answer was about PTers who have fewer than FT hours, by the way. But, in my small burg, we have no FT contract workers, so my answer is the same there as well. Mind you, mine is a pretty special case.
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