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Finding work in Japan
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baters



Joined: 29 Jan 2003
Posts: 11

PostPosted: Wed Jan 29, 2003 2:32 pm    Post subject: Finding work in Japan Reply with quote

Hello,

My girlfriend and I are currently teaching in Korea and want to make the jump to Japan. We're wondering how quickly we could find work if we just showed up in Japan and if it might be possible to start as soon as mid-February.

Sorry for the broad post but I'm a newbie when it comes to the Japanese ESL market. We're not sure what to expect in terms of contracts, any help would be greatly appreciated.

Cheers

Clay
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Glenski



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

PostPosted: Wed Jan 29, 2003 9:41 pm    Post subject: basic info needed first Reply with quote

Hi Clay,

You should really tell us more about yourselves. We don't know what your nationalities are, your ages, your educational backgrounds, or what types of schools you'd be interested in teaching in. So, it's pretty hard to say what your chances are without this basic information.

High schools, elementary schools, and universities start their school terms in April here in Japan, so the ads will start to grow in Feb. and March. Eikaiwas advertise for work practically anytime.
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baters



Joined: 29 Jan 2003
Posts: 11

PostPosted: Thu Jan 30, 2003 12:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Glenski,

Thanks for replying and sorry for the lack of information. We're both 27 and Canadian citizens. I have a BComm, my GF has a BA. We've both taught in Korea for a little over a year and are looking to start working as soon as possible. We both worked in Korea "hagwans" which I assume are similar to Eikiwas in Japan. I've also taught at a university. We would like to start working soon so it appears that maybe Eikiwas could be our best option.

I've heard some bad things about the big chains (Nova, GEOS etc.) but I assume it differs from school to school. Most of the contracts I've seen from Eikiwas seem to be quite similar, around 250,000 a month but do most schools sponsor your visa? We want to go to or around Kyoto, Osaka or Sapporro but we're pretty flexible.

Once again, any help would be greatly appreciated.

Cheers

Clay
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Glenski



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

PostPosted: Thu Jan 30, 2003 4:22 am    Post subject: some answers Reply with quote

Clay,

Thanks for the background info. The main reason I ask is that you have two options for visas because you are Canadian. One is the working holiday visa, which is good for people with/without degrees and who are 18-30 years old. However, it is good only for a year. Not renewable beyond that point.

The other option is a work visa, which in Japan can be for one or three years, but you need a bachelor's degree. This is renewable for one or three years presumably for an unlimited number of times. Which one you get is determined by immigration, not by any requests you or an employer may make.

Yes, I believe hogwans and eikawas are similar. I have no experience with hogwans, though, and am going off what I have read on forums. Neither of you qualify to work full-time at universities, and I'd consider it very unlikely that you could even get part-time work at one, but anything's possible. Usually, the minimum requirement is a master's.

Standard wages at eikaiwas is 250,000 to 280,000 yen/month. Depends on what size city sometimes. I wouldn't go so far as to say that MOST schools sponsor visas. Nobody has a decent statistic on this, but here's what I can tell you. A quick glance at a major job advertising web site (ohayosensei.com) over the last 3-4 months shows that about half of the eikaiwas who wanted FT people were willing to sponsor visas. Granted this is a small sample size, but it's encouraging.

Look carefully at those ads, too, because some require that you already live in Japan when you apply. They often state this (or the opposite) in their ads.

Others will have to give you advice about Kyoto or Osaka. I've never lived there. However, if you want to know anything about Sapporo, just send me an email. I've lived there for the past 4+ years.
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baters



Joined: 29 Jan 2003
Posts: 11

PostPosted: Fri Jan 31, 2003 8:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Glenski,

Thanks for the info, I appreciate it. We're still in the research stage of things but I will definately look into the working holiday visa. I was under the impression the cut off age was 25 but if it's 30 then it gives us a few more options. What are the benefits/cons of having a working holiday visa as opposed to a regualr visa?

Thanks again for you help, if we decide on Sapporo I will surely give you an email.

Cheers
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PAULH



Joined: 28 Jan 2003
Posts: 4672
Location: Western Japan

PostPosted: Fri Jan 31, 2003 9:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

baters

I just want to add a couple of points to what Glenski mentioned- he has covered most of the bases already

Most employers will seek a degree as a hiring requirement as that is what is required to get a work visa, and most employers will seek the highest qualified candidate amidst all the competition. Many teachers are chasing after fewer jobs and most demand a degree as a minimum qualification so they can sponsor your visa.

On a working holiday visa you need neither a degree nor a sponsor and are free to change employers. However it is only valid for up to six months, with one renewal. A sponsored work visa may be an initial one year, and then you can apply for a 3-year visa. It si possible to quit employers mid-contract and stay on the same visa, provided you give adequate notice of leaving. The visa belongs to you, not your employer, unlike Korea.

On a WHV you will likely pay a higher tax rate also of 20% which you can get back if you file a tax return at the end of the year, while a teacher on a work visa will pay about 7% in direct taxation.


I am both living in Kyoto and working at a university, and as Glenski says most jobs at a university require a Masters degree for part time positions. Full-time positions require a minimum of a Masters and/or a PhD, and 3 publications.

As for teaching jobs in Kyoto there are not that many schools but I can give you a link which has school listings but Im not sure Im allowed to post it on this board. Most conversation school teachers living in Kyoto commute to Osaka, whcih is where more jobs are.
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baters



Joined: 29 Jan 2003
Posts: 11

PostPosted: Fri Jan 31, 2003 9:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Seems like having a regular visa is the better option, especially if you intend on staying for a few years. If you can, please email the list you mentioned to me (batesclay@yahoo.com).
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PAULH



Joined: 28 Jan 2003
Posts: 4672
Location: Western Japan

PostPosted: Fri Jan 31, 2003 1:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Another thing you have to consider is on a regular sponsored visa if you are getting mucked around with wages and unfair working conditions you have a greater bargaining power with your employer as your rights are protected if you a work full time job. You can get union assistance in case of trouble etc, whereby on a working holiday visa your job security and work conditions are more tenuous. As a working holiday visa is only 6 months many employers dont think you will be around long enough to stick up for yourself in the case of a work dispute.

With a regular visa , your employer is responsible for you as your sponsor and is supposed to abide by the terms of his contract and you can confront them on infractions, whereas with WHV visas almost anything goes.
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baters



Joined: 29 Jan 2003
Posts: 11

PostPosted: Sat Feb 01, 2003 9:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Paul,

You mentioned that you live in Kyoto but that a lot of conversation teachers commute to Osaka, is the cost of living cheaper in Kyoto or is it just a more relaxed astmosphere?

On the topic of visas, do you have to leave the country to have the visa processed? We are currently in Korea but I get the impression that most schools would want to have a face to face interview before deciding to hire. Would it be better to go to Japan without first having work arranged? It makes more sense for me to stay in Korea where the cost of living is much cheaper until we've secured work in Japan (plus saving the costs of leaving the country to get a visa) but I'm not really sure if things work that way. Any advice would be most welcome.

Thanks
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RobM



Joined: 28 Jan 2003
Posts: 6

PostPosted: Sat Feb 01, 2003 2:17 pm    Post subject: For PaulH Reply with quote

Sorry to bother you, but would you mind sending me the link to the list of schools in Kyoto? My girlfriend and I plan to move to Japan and are both interested in the Kyoto area. Thanks,

Rob (robmorel@yahoo.com)
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PAULH



Joined: 28 Jan 2003
Posts: 4672
Location: Western Japan

PostPosted: Sat Feb 01, 2003 3:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Baters

Kyoto is the kind of place that is reeking of history and tradition with 100 year old temples around the edges, Gion matsuri ( been going about 600 years) and geisha or maiko as the trainees are called). However Kyoto itself is a small place (you can drive across it in 30 minutes) and there are not many teaching jobs to speak of (there are about a dozen universities around Kyoto but competition for jobs is pretty tight). Before Kyoto I lived in southern Kyoto prefecture near nara. My wife says that food prices and rent are a little more expensive, and the municipal tax is also rather expensive as Kyoto has a much smaller population than say osaka.
Kyoto is pretty in may respects great social life and great pubs, pretty compact and easy to get around, , but pretty hard to find jobs at conversation schools so many travel to Osaka which is only 30 minutes away by express. Then again I have never taught at a conversation school in Kyoto (I work at a university) so I dont really know how because of the temples and culture, but not all of them can find a job here, and prices compared to Osaka are rather more expensive, but not as bad as Tokyo.

Hope this helps,

Paul
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p_track



Joined: 22 Jan 2003
Posts: 11

PostPosted: Sun Feb 02, 2003 3:31 am    Post subject: visas and tax Reply with quote

Hi guy's, a quick question for PaulH and a note to Baters:
(I am a Canadian with a BA leaving for Japan on Monday with a WHV)

I just recieved my WHV and am now reconsidering after reading what you mentioned above. Paul mentioned that my taxes may be higher but that I could probably get that back once I file for a tax return.

Question 1:
Does that mean that i would get all 20% back or just 13% so that it is the same as a reg. visa?

I may just enter Japan as a tourist and then upgrade to a regular visa once i find a job (knock on wood).

Question 2:
Would entering japan with a tourist visa, which i believe is good for 90 days, get me into trouble with immigration considering my return flight is in Dec?

Note to Baters:
I am going to be new in Japan as well but have some expat relatives in Japan. If you need a contact I will have a cell # in a week or so. In the mean time you can e-mail me.

I appreciate all the help PaulH and Gelenski Wink

P_track@hotmail.com
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PAULH



Joined: 28 Jan 2003
Posts: 4672
Location: Western Japan

PostPosted: Sun Feb 02, 2003 8:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Question 1:
Does that mean that i would get all 20% back or just 13% so that it is the same as a reg. visa?

When you are on a working holiday the visa is only for six months and the employer will assume you will not work a whole year. He will likely take out the tax you would have paid had you worked the whole year. When you file a tax return with the tax office they will calculate the difference and send you a refund. I have never been on a working holiday visa but have filed taxes many times and have got refunds from over-taxation etc. if you dont file you cant expect to claim it.

And no, WHV holders do not pay no taxes whatsoever but what ever is calculated when you file your return, to bring you into line with normal rates. Not only that everyone pays a 5% consumption tax as well.

I may just enter Japan as a tourist and then upgrade to a regular visa once i find a job (knock on wood).

Question 2:
Would entering japan with a tourist visa, which i believe is good for 90 days, get me into trouble with immigration considering my return flight is in Dec?


1. If you come in on a tourist visa and tell immigration you are coming to look for a job, you could very well find yourself on the next plane out of the country after a night in an immigarion detention centre.

You are not allowed to look for a job on a tourist visa or even mention looking for one. Many do of course as long as you are discreet and slip out of the country to get a work visa.

Another couple of things:

On a tourist visa you can not get a gaijin card and therefore can not open a bank account, making it difficult for employers to pay you.

If you get into trouble with your employer over non-payment of wages, mysterious deductions, tax deductions that dont go to the tax office etc- you dont have a leg to stand on re contacting a union or getting representation. If you work on a tourist visa you do so at your

I would also make sure you come in with enough funds- I read another post where one person came on a tourist visa, got canned three days after starting work and did not have enough money to renew a visa or go to Korea to renew a tourist visa etc. They ended up going home with their tail between their legs blaming their employer for their troubles.

If you are going to come here you must be prepared, have enough funds to support yourself for up to six weeks or more, and preferably come in on a visa allowing you to work i.e. a work visa or a six month working holiday visa.
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baters



Joined: 29 Jan 2003
Posts: 11

PostPosted: Sun Feb 02, 2003 10:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the insight into Kyoto Paul.

As for the visa discussion, is it even possible to upgrade to a regular work visa from a WHV without leaving the country? If we enter the country on a tourist visa, I assume we'd have to make a visa run to Korea once we find a job. Given the fact that I'm already in Korea, it makes more sense for me to try to sort out a visa before I go. It just seems easier to find a job if you're already in Japan and preference appears to be given to those currently in Japan.

P_track, how long did it take to process your WHV?
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PAULH



Joined: 28 Jan 2003
Posts: 4672
Location: Western Japan

PostPosted: Sun Feb 02, 2003 12:25 pm    Post subject: Visa run to Korea needed for tourist visa holders Reply with quote

Its my understanding you dont have to leave the country to get a sponsored work visa if you are changing from a working holiday visa.

I have heard in some cases you can also do so on a tourist visa within Japan (i think Glenski may have some more solid information and examples) but I dont knwo anymore than pure hearsay. I think the visa run to korea can be factored into your plans if you come on a tourist visa.

Just my two cents worth.
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