The Right Visa?

An advice column for foreigners who have questions about Japanese law and complying with various governmental regulations. The answers are provided by GLocals, a local legal specialist who assists foreigners in dealing with various questions they have about living and working in Japan.

Question: I run an Italian restaurant. One of the Italian chefs quit last month and I would like to know if there is anything I should do as an owner.

I am planning to hire a new foreign chef to take his place but how can I find out if the person has the right to work in Japan? Answer: If the Italian chef had a special working visa such as a “Skilled Labor” visa, it is best you let immigration know he has quit. However, this is not mandatory so there is no penalty  even if you didn’t report it as an employer. On the other hand, keep in mind that the person who has quit the job (or changed jobs) MUST report the change, otherwise fines may be imposed or it could cause them to loose the right to stay in Japan.

Here is how to report employment changes:

1. Go to the nearest Immigration Bureau or

2. Mail a document to the Immigration Bureau of Japan in Tokyo

3. Alternatively you can do this on the internet. This may be the easiest as it takes only 10 minutes.

Go to

or search the term “Immigration Bureau e-Notification System” If you have never used this website before you’ll need to register your ID first. Here is the answer to your question about how to find out whether he/she has the appropriate visa to work. Please check the following on the residence card:

Point 1: STATUS

Depending on the type of visa status, you will know whether he/she has the right to work in that field or not.

A: If the person holds a working visa, you need to pay extra attention. Chefs usually hold a “Skilled Labor” visa but take note – a chef who used to work at a French restaurant with this type of visa can not start working as a chef at a different kind of restaurant like an Italian restaurant or a Chinese restaurant. Interesting huh.

B: “Permanent” visa, “Spouse of Japanese National” visa, “Spouse of Permanent Resident” and “Spouse of Permanent Resident” visa holders can work with no restrictions so they can do any kind of job with no working limits.

C: “Student” visa holders and “Dependent” of working visa holders must have a work permit. They need to apply at the bureau to work a limited number of hours if they wish to work in Japan. This is because the primary purpose for such visas is not work. Please note that they can not work more than 28 hours a week.

D: “Technical intern training”, “Trainee”, and “Short Term (tourist)” visa holders can not work. No residence cards are issued for “Short Term” visa holders.


Please make sure that their visa hasn’t expired.


Check the validity of the residence card If you doubt that the card is authentic, you can check the validity of the residence card on the website below:

This site is in Japanese only but you can check it as you type the number of the residence card and expiration date. In conclusion, if you would like to hire a new chef at your Italian restaurant, the new employee should hold a “Skilled Labor” visa which was approved while he/she was working as a chef at an Italian restaurant. If you are looking for waiters or kitchen assistants, any of the visa holders mentioned in B, C above can work as long as they follow the regulations.



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