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Easily Find a Part-time Job in Japan: 5 Tips for International Students

Of the international students who study abroad in Japan, about 70% have part-time jobs. It’s not as difficult as you might think for foreign students to find part-time work. You should be able to find one for yourself if you understand the necessary permissions, time limitations, hiring routes, and how to apply. Let’s take a look at the five things foreign students need to know before looking for part-time jobs!

1. First, get permission from the government
For an international student to work part-time in Japan, he or she will need to obtain “Permission to engage in activities other than permitted under the status of residence.” The application method is very simple. When you enter Japan for the first time on a student visa, you can apply at the airport and obtain permission on the spot. (However, if your period of stay is three months or less, you won’t be able to apply at the airport.)

If you don’t apply at an airport, you can also apply for the same permission at the local Immigration Bureau where you live. If you apply this way, however, you’ll need to wait 2 weeks to 2 months for approval, so we recommend you apply at the airport when you enter Japan, if possible.

2. Get to know general hourly wages and working conditions
A. Hourly Wages
Before you officially start looking for part-time work, you’ll want to know the minimum hourly wage in the area where you live. In Hyogo Prefecture, the minimum hourly wage is 928 yen (after October 2021). With this knowledge, you can avoid a part-time job that offers unfairly low pay. The minimum hourly wage for each prefecture nationwide can be checked on the “National list of minimum wages by region.”

B. Maximum Working Hours
Foreign students are permitted to work part-time only up to 28 hours a week. Whether you are working on-call or even doing overtime, you must keep all your working hours to a max of 28 hours in total. However, over long-term school breaks like summer vacation, it’s alright to work 8 hours per day, 40 hours per week.

C. Taxes
In principle, the salaries of part-time workers are taxed just like full-time workers, so the actual salary your receive will have taxes deducted from it already. The tax rate varies depending on the number of years you’ve lived in Japan, and on your salary. However, university and graduate students from China, South Korea, and Thailand(*) (excluding students at vocational schools and Japanese language schools), can be exempt from these taxes due to tax treaties between these countries and Japan. If this applies to you, you’ll need to apply for tax exemption through your employer.

*In the case of Thailand, tax exemption may be restricted depending on your period of stay and how much money you make.

3. How to find a part-time job
There are many different ways to find part-time jobs. You can search online, get an introduction from a friend, see flyers for job offers at stores, and check job listing magazines that you may often see at train stations and convenience stores.

4. Part-time jobs often held by international students
Most commonly, international students work at cafés, restaurants, and other eateries. These are followed in popularity by sales positions in convenience stores, drug stores, and clothing shops. (Source: FY2019 Survey of Living Conditions for Individually Financed Foreign Students) Although some foreign students work part-time as translators or language instructors, they are required to have a Japanese language ability of N2 or above.

One thing foreign students absolutely need to be aware of is that part-time jobs in the adult entertainment industry are strongly prohibited. These include bars and pubs, game arcades, pachinko parlors, and so on. Students are forbidden from working in such establishments, even doing something that may seem harmless, like washing dishes.

5. Part-time job applications
Once you’ve decided on the part-time job you want to apply for, the next step is to prepare your resume and do the interview. You can buy resume formats at convenience stores and stationery shops. Be sure to fill in your resume with a black ballpoint pen and attach an ID photo like the one on your residence card.

At your interview, you should be ready to answer frequently asked questions about your reason for applying, previous work experience, and how many days a week you can work. If you’re invited to wear “regular clothes” or aren’t instructed to wear a particular kind of clothing, you don’t need to come in a suit, but avoid wearing very flashy clothes or accessories. Finally, the most important thing is not to be late! Try to arrive between five and ten minutes early, and contact your potential workplace as soon as you know you’ll be late.

In most cases, you’ll be notified by phone if you get the job. Next, you just need to follow your employer’s instructions to prepare to start work. Still, even as you work hard at your part-time job, be sure not to work at the expense of your main business – studying! Invest your time in a part-time job that won’t get in the way of your studies. For more points to check, see “Part-time jobs in Kobe“.